Four major automakers just formed a new joint venture to build an electric vehicle charging station across Europe.
Ford, Volkswagen, BMW and Daimler have joined forces to create a network of chargers with a charging capacity of up to 350 kW, aiming to make it easier to move around Europe using electric vehicles. The team aims to start installing the fast-charging stations next year.
Europe's Highest-Powered EV Charging Network
"BMW Group, Daimler AG, Ford Motor Company and Volkswagen Group with Audi and Porsche have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to create the highest-powered charging network in Europe," reads the press release. "The goal is the quick build-up of a sizable number of stations in order to enable long-range travel for battery electric vehicle drivers. This will be an important step towards facilitating mass-market BEV adoption."
Through the joint venture, the automakers initially plan to roll out fast-charging stations in 400 sites across Europe, but the automakers want to install thousands of charge points by 2020. The network will employ Combined Charging System technology, which uses an AC/DC connector combo known as the "Combo Coupler" to provide a fast-charging solution that delivers a maximum charging rate of 350 kW.
A number of automakers including BMW, Daimler, Volkswagen, Ford, GM, Hyundai and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles support CCS and more will likely join the fray as electric vehicles continue to gain ground. Tesla, meanwhile, is reportedly working on an adapter that would enable it to support the standard CCS chargers use.
The new joint venture to create a European EV charging network aims to ease up the so-called range anxiety, which refers to the fear of running out of power in an electric vehicle before reaching a charging station.
This range anxiety plays a major role in consumers' reluctance toward electric vehicles, which have so far catered only to a niche market. With a broader network of fast-charging stations, however, automakers could combat range anxiety and make electric vehicles more ubiquitous.
The project for Europe follows a similar venture from earlier this year, when BMW, Volkswagen and ChargePoint teamed up to install 100 EV charging stations along coastal highways in the United States.
Electric vehicles are nonetheless gaining ground and are expected to make up a much more significant portion of the auto market by 2020. Some cities have already started to be more EV-friendly and authorities are working on creating more EV charging corridors to counter range anxiety, so things are looking up. Moreover, BMW is reportedly working on a redesigned i3 model with a longer range for 2017.
With such efforts under way, does the prospect of getting an electric vehicle sound more appealing?