Major Automakers Join Forces to Launch Pan-European EV Charging Network

BMW Group, Daimler AG, Ford Motor Co., and the Volkswagen Group with Audi and Porsche have announced IONITY, a new joint venture to develop and implement a high-power charging (HPC) network for electric vehicles (EVs) across Europe.

With a target to launch approximately 400 HPC stations by 2020, IONITY will aim to make long-distance journeys easier and marks an important step for EVs. Based in Munich, Germany, the joint venture is led by CEO Michael Hajesch and Chief Operating Officer Marcus Groll, with a growing team, set to number 50 by the start of 2018.

“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,” says 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 120 km, through partnerships with Tank & Rast, Circle K and OMV. Through 2018, the network is expected to 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 350 kW per charging point, the network will use the European charging standard Combined Charging System to reduce charging times compared to existing systems. The brand-agnostic approach and Europe-wide distribution is expected to help make EVs more appealing.

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 EVs and relies on international co-operation across the industry.

The founding partners, BMW Group, Daimler AG, Ford Motor Co. and the Volkswagen Group, have equal shares in the joint venture, while other automotive manufacturers are invited to help expand the network. A website for IONITY has been launched here.

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