When it comes to electrification, there are two main strategies: doing it on your own and joining forces. Tesla adopts vertical integration and has established its charging network on its own. BMW, Daimler, Ford, and the Volkswagen Group decided to join forces to create Ionity. The Hyundai Motor Group likes the second strategy best and also joined Ionity.
With that, both Hyundai and Kia are now part of the effort to increase the number of fast chargers for electric cars in Europe. Neither Hyundai nor Ionity said how the Korean company will help that happen from now on, but we expect that to be through investments.
This announcement follows a previous one from Kia and Hyundai made on September 9 which seems to be the same one. At that time, Hyundai even provided us with more information.
The company said it would get as many shares as the founding companies got in Ionity. Unfortunately, it did not disclose how much it invested in the joint venture.
Another point about the investment is that Hyundai and Kia will have electric cars with 800V battery packs by 2021. Joining Ionity would help chargers for this high voltage and fast charging speeds (350 kW) would be available more readily for these future presentations.
Why has Hyundai repeated its September announcement? We have no idea, but it may be because the first press release did not get the attention it deserved. Another reason would be that it is now approved by regulators, but the press release also does not clarify that.
While Ionity started in 2018 with two charging stations in Germany and one in Switzerland, it planned to reach 20 European countries in 2020. Three of these countries are not part of the European Union: Norway, United Kingdom, and Switzerland.
The European Union is composed by 27 countries and 10 still do not have any charging station from Ionity: Bulgaria, Cyprus, Estonia, Greece, Latvia, Luxembourg, Malta, Poland, Portugal, and Romania. Apparently, Greece will soon leave the list of countries forgotten by Ionity.
Portugal has a massive adoption rate for EVs, but it is either too small a market or the government makes it hard for Ionity to enter. Considering that Slovenia is even smaller, but has three charger stations, we’d bet on the second hypothesis.
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With so many huge companies behind it, the Ionity network should already be much larger than Superchargers from Tesla, but is not. While Ionity recently celebrated its 250th station in the Old Continent, Tesla would already have 543, with an average of 9 charging points per station. That may have to do with how differently these companies see the need for charging infrastructure.
While BMW, Daimler, Ford, and the VW Group still have low EV sales, electric cars are all Tesla produces. Besides, Superchargers are part of the business for Tesla, which also comprises solar charging and stationary batteries. Ionity’s goal is to prepare for when its partners start selling more EVs. With emission fines around the corner, they should rush.
Source: Hyundai Motor Group