BMW Group, Daimler AG, Ford Motor Company and Volkswagen Group with Audi and Porsche have signed a memorandum of understanding to create the highest-powered charging network in Europe. The goal is the quick buildup of a sizable number of stations to enable long-range travel for battery electric vehicle drivers.
The projected ultra-fast charging network with power levels up to 350 kilowatt will be significantly faster than the most powerful charging system deployed today. The buildup is planned to start in 2017. An initial target of about 400 sites in Europe is planned. By 2020, consumers should have access to thousands of high-powered charging points. The goal is to enable long-distance travel through open-network charging stations along highways and major thoroughfares, which has not been feasible for most battery electric vehicle drivers to date. The experience is expected to evolve to be as convenient as refueling at conventional gas stations, according to the OEMs.
The network will be based on Combined Charging System standard technology. The planned infrastructure expands the existing technical standard for AC and DC charging of electric vehicles to the next level of capacity for DC fast charging with up to 350 kilowatt. Vehicles engineered to accept the full power of the charge stations can recharge brand-independently in a fraction of the time of today’s battery electric vehicles. The network is intended to serve all Combined Charging System-equipped vehicles to facilitate battery electric vehicle adoption in Europe, according to the OEMs.
The automobile manufacturers said they intend to make substantial investments to create the network, underscoring each company’s belief in the future of electric mobility. While the founding partners – BMW Group, Daimler AG, Ford Motor Company and Volkswagen Group – will be equal partners in the joint venture, other automobile manufacturers will be encouraged to participate to help establish convenient charging solutions for battery electric vehicle customers. The joint venture also intends to cooperate with regional partners to ensure a quick network realization.
The joint venture formation is subject to execution of definitive agreements and merger control approval in various jurisdictions.