€700 million investment in Ionity’s rapid-charging network

25 November 2021

Electrically-chargeable vehicle (EV) infrastructure operator Ionity has announced a €700 million investment from its shareholders and new partner BlackRock Global Renewable Power platform. This will allow the company’s network to expand throughout Europe, offering more high-powered points.

The investment will help Ionity to quadruple its number of 350kW charging stations to 7,000 by 2025. These plug-in points are capable of boosting batteries at a rapid pace. For example, they can take a Kia EV6 from a 10% charge to 80% in 18 minutes.

A lot of fast infrastructure is destined for motorway service areas (MSAs) where rapid charging is seen as a necessity. However, Ionity’s new 350kW stations will also appear near major cities and along busy trunk roads. These sites will feature a higher average of six to 12 charging points, allowing for a greater number of EVs.

But this does not mean Ionity’s existing infrastructure will be passed over. Sites along routes with high demand will also receive upgrades with additional charging points. All of this money and effort is to ensure the major network is ready for the incoming wave of EVs, as electromobility continues to pick up pace in Europe.

A new partner

Blackrock is the first company outside of the automotive sector to become an Ionity shareholder. Using its global renewable power platform, the company has invested in over 300 projects worldwide, including offshore wind and solar power projects.

‘The entry of BlackRock as a shareholder and the commitment of our current shareholders underline Ionity’s attractiveness for investors and confirm the strength of our strategy,’ commented Michael Hajesch, CEO of Ionity. ‘The trust and investment of all shareholders will accelerate Ionity’s growth, the expansion of our high-power charging network across Europe and more broadly, the decarbonisation of the mobility sector.’

As the automotive sector undergoes a fundamental transformation, emphasising zero-emission travel, the need for EV infrastructure is palpable. So, since 2017, Ionity has been working on meeting this need. The company currently operates over 1,500 charging points along European motorways in 24 countries, using renewable energy.

‘Electric vehicle charging infrastructure is vital to achieve a net-zero future. Ionity is one of Europe’s leading EV charging networks, bringing together auto industry pioneers to create a seamless experience for emission-free driving across Europe,’ said David Giordano, global head of renewable power at BlackRock. ‘We are delighted to be supporting their growth ambition and providing our clients with access to an innovative company that is powering the clean energy transition.’

Range of new concepts

As part of its expansion, Ionity also plans to acquire its own properties, with the potential to build and operate service stations. The company also teased its new ‘Oasis’ concept, which looks to be based on improving the customer experience.

‘Our ‘Oasis’ concept shows what the charging experience of the future will look like. Whether it is covered charging stations or charging parks alongside cafés, restaurants, and shops, we want to offer our customers a more convenient and comfortable charging experience in the future,’ said Marcus Groll, COO at Ionity.

The operator also recently announced it is opening a charging-technology assessment centre in Unterschleissheim, Germany. The site will conduct end-to-end testing on functional capabilities such as plug and charge (PnC). This new technology could stand to make boosting an EV’s battery far easier by removing the need for radio frequency identification (RFID) cards or apps.

Ionity shareholder Audi plans to offer the premium form of charging in December this year, exclusively on the network. Authentication will take place automatically at compatible plugs, using encrypted communication as soon as the vehicle is connected. Billing is also taken care of automatically as part of a contract file. Drivers will need a PnC-capable Audi e-tron, a new model due for production towards the end of this month, as well as an active e-tron charging service contract.