Manufacturer joint venture aims to increase fast charging EV points across Europe

06 November 2017

06 November 2017

A new joint venture involving a number of vehicle manufacturers plans to create a European network of fast charging electric vehicle (EV) stations by 2020.

The venture, called Ionity, features BMW, Daimler, Ford and Volkswagen (VW) Group through its Audi and Porsche brands. The group is based in Munich and is led by CEO Michael Hajesch, with a growing number of employees, set to number 50 by the start of 2018. Ionity aims to make long-distance journeys for EVs easier, increasing charging stations and decreasing the time needed to achieve charge.

′The first pan-European HPC network plays an essential role in establishing a market for electric vehicles. IONITY will deliver our common goal of providing customers with fast charging and digital payment capability, to facilitate long-distance travel,’ said Hajesch.

A total of 20 stations will be opened to the public this year, located on major roads in Germany, Norway and Austria, at intervals of 120km, through partnerships with Tank & Rast, Circle K and OMV. Through 2018, the network will expand to more than 100 stations, each one enabling multiple customers, driving different manufacturer cars, to charge their vehicles simultaneously. With a capacity of up to 350kW per charging point, the network will use the European charging standard Combined Charging System (CCS) to significantly reduce charging times compared to existing systems.

The company believes that a brand-agnostic approach and Europe-wide distribution will help to make electrified vehicles more appealing.

′The launch of IONITY represents a breakthrough in the move towards a comprehensive rapid charging infrastructure in Europe,’ says the Chairman of the Executive Board of Porsche AG, Oliver Blume. ′Creating a functioning charging infrastructure is necessary for ensuring electromobility is accepted and further expanded. With the rapid charging network from IONITY, we are ensuring that our customers can use electric cars on long journeys without compromising on convenience. These high-charging stations are capable of charging our Mission E to 80 per cent in just 15 minutes – equivalent to a range of 400 kilometres. The Mission E is Porsche’s first purely electric sports car. It will arrive on the market in 2019, bringing e-mobility into everyday use.’

Choosing the best locations takes into account potential integration with existing charging technologies and Ionity is negotiating with existing infrastructure initiatives, including those supported by the participating companies as well as political institutions. The investment underlines the commitment that the participating manufacturers are making in electric vehicles and relies on international cooperation across the industry.

Each of the manufacturers involved have an equal share in the partnership, and all hope that the move will allow them to build on their respective EV aspirations as they look to move on from traditional engine vehicles. Diesel’s share of the European market is expected to drop in years to come, while new CO2 targets set by the EU Commission will push car makers to rely heavily on electric technology.

Photograph courtesy of Tesla