BMW Group, Daimler AG (parent company of Mercedes-Benz), Ford Motor Company and Volkswagen Group (together with Audi and Porsche) have signed a joint venture to create the highest-powered charging network in Europe.
The alliance aim to accelerate the build-up of a sizable number of charging stations to enable long-range travel for battery electric vehicles. The initiative represents an important step towards facilitating mass-market EV adoption.
The projected ultra-fast high-powered charging network with power levels up to 350 kW is said to be significantly faster than the most powerful charging system deployed today. The build-up is planned to start in 2017. An initial target of about 400 sites in Europe is planned. By 2020 customers should have access to thousands of high-powered charging points, according to reports.
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 EV drivers to date. The charging experience is expected to evolve to be as convenient as refueling at conventional gas stations.
The network will be based on Combined Charging System (CCS) standard technology which allows fast charging of up to 350 kW. EVs that are engineered to accept this full power of the charge stations can recharge – brand independently – in a fraction of the time of today’s EVs.