The first stages of a new pan-European EV charging network have been announced, with IONITY launched today (3rd November 2017). Work on 20 ultra-rapid stations has started already, and around 400 will be operating by 2020 on major European corridors.
Set up by the BMW Group, Daimler, Ford, and the VW Group with Audi and Porsche, IONITY will develop a high-power charging network to make long-distance EV travel easier. Units will be able to charge at up to 350 kW with a CCS connector.
The first locations will be opened to the public later this year in Germany, Norway, and Austria, at intervals of around 75 miles (120km). Through 2018, the network will expand to more than 100 locations, with each station capable of charging a number of cars at the same time.
The IONITY network is intended to both improve charging times and future-proof it against EV development for the next 5-10 years at least. No car can currently charge at 350 kW, with Tesla’s Supercharger network currently the highest powered around at 120 kW – with Tesla models the only production EVs currently able to charge faster than 50 kW, the current CCS and CHAdeMO standard.
Precise numbers of charging points have not yet been revealed, but with each station able to cater for ‘multiple customers, driving different manufacturer cars, to charge their vehicles simultaneously’, there will easily be more than 800 350 kW units installed by 2020, and likely to be much more than that.
BMW Group, Daimler, Ford, and the VW Group are equal stake holders in the venture, though other automotive manufacturers are invited to expand the network.