Carmakers launch European open charging network

November 03, 2017 //By Christoph Hammerschmidt
With the launch of a joint venture named IONITY, the BMW Group, Daimler AG, Ford Motor Company and the Volkswagen Group together with Audi and Porsche set the course for the development of the most powerful high-speed charging network for electric vehicles in Europe. The construction and operation of around 400 high-speed charging stations by 2020 are important steps towards ensuring electric mobility on long-haul routes and thus establishing them in the market.

The new company, headquartered in Munich, has commenced operations. Michael Hajesch (CEO) and Marcus Groll (COO) assume the management of the joint venture (JV). The availability of a nationwide high-power charging network is essential for the market penetration of electromobility. The founding of IONITY is an important milestone, which shows that the car manufacturers are joining forces to achieve this goal. “With the creation of the first pan-European high-power charging (HPC) network, we are making electromobility suitable for long-distance travel,” says Hajesch.

By 2020, IONITY plans to set up and operate a total of around 400 fast charging stations. The first twenty stations will be built in 2017, on motorways and major traffic arteries in Germany, Norway and Austria, among others. They will be open to the public and will be located at a distance of about 120 kilometers from each other. IONITY relies on cooperation with partners such as Tank & Rast, Circle K and OMV and benefits from their attractive locations.

Europe-wide scaling to over one hundred rapid charging stations is planned for 2018. Each of the quick charging stations will have several charging stations. This will give customers access to thousands of HPC charging points by 2020, regardless of brand and performance. The HPC network uses the European Combined Charging System (CCS). The charging capacity of up to 350 kW per charging point enables vehicles designed for this purpose to charge significantly shorter times than currently available systems. The openness of the system and its Europe-wide distribution will help to significantly increase the acceptance of electric vehicles.