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If you’ve read the report on our recent Tesla Model S road trip from London to Berlin, you’ll already know that we’re pretty impressed with the way you can waft around the continent fairly range anxiety-free in one of Musk’s premium products. But what about if you own a non-Tesla EV? As if in answer to our question, it’s been announced today that Porsche, BMW, Daimler AG, Ford, VW and Audi have all come together in a venture to create the highest-powered EV charging network in Europe – and work’s set to start as soon as 2017…
Aiming to increase the justification of buying an EV in Europe, the plan includes building a large amount of new charging stations, effectively bolstering the EV infrastructure and encouraging owners to perform longer road trips in their electric vehicles.
While Tesla’s Superchargers can kick out a maximum of 145kW of power at present, this scheme proposes to use chargers with power levels reaching a whopping 350kW, meaning ultra-fast charging on electric-powered and plug-in hybrid vehicles (PHEVs) built by the aforementioned firms. 400 sites have already been proposed around the continent, with EV owners being able to access ‘thousands’ of these facilities by 2020 if all goes to plan. This date coincides with several important performance-based electric cars, such as Porsche’s Mission E, due to be released to the public.
It seems all manufactures are fully committed to an electric future:
“This high-power charging network provides motorists with another strong argument to move towards electric mobility,” says Harald Krüger, Chairman of the Board of Management of BMW AG. “The BMW Group has initiated numerous public charging infrastructure projects over the last years. The joint project is another major milestone clearly demonstrating that competitors are combining forces to ramp-up e-mobility.”
“The breakthrough of e-mobility requires two things: convincing vehicles and a comprehensive charging infrastructure. With our new brand EQ, we are launching our electric product offensive: by 2025, our portfolio will include more than ten fully electric passenger cars. Together with our partners, we are now installing the highest-powered charging infrastructure in Europe,” says Dr. Dieter Zetsche, Chairman of the Board of Management of Daimler AG and Head of Mercedes-Benz Cars. “The availability of high-power stations allows long-distance e-mobility for the first time and will convince more and more customers to opt for an electric vehicle.”
Ford Motor Company
“A reliable, ultra-fast charging infrastructure is important for mass consumer adoption and has the potential to transform the possibilities for electric driving,” says Mark Fields, president and CEO, Ford Motor Company. “Ford is committed to developing vehicles and technologies that make people’s lives better, and this charging network will make it easier and more practical for customers across Europe to own electrified vehicles.”
“We intend to create a network that allows our customers on long-distance trips to use a coffee break for recharging,” says Rupert Stadler, Chairman of the Board of Management of AUDI AG. “Reliable fast charging services are a key factor for drivers to choose an electric vehicle. With this cooperation we want to boost a broader market adoption of e-mobility and speed up the shift towards emission-free driving.”
“There are two decisive aspects for us: ultra-fast charging and placing the charging stations at the right positions,” says Oliver Blume, Chairman of the Executive Board of Porsche AG. “Together, these two factors enable us to travel in an all-electrically powered car as in a conventional combustion engine vehicle. As automobile manufacturer, we actively shape our future, not only by developing all-electrically powered vehicles but by building up the necessary infrastructure as well.”