How the Car Industry is Helping Build Out Europe’s Charging Infrastructure
The electric vehicle likely won’t go mainstream until fast charging stations are everywhere. Ionity, an initiative launched with the support of four major car manufacturers, could help lead the way—at least in Europe.
The hard part about putting electric cars into the mainstream, simply, is that there’s less infrastructure compared to traditional gasoline-based vehicles.
But as a coalition of carmakers are currently proving in Europe, a little collaboration goes a long way.
On Friday, a group of manufacturers—including BMW, Daimler, Ford, and Volkswagen—announced that they would be opening up numerous high-speed vehicle charging stations throughout Europe as part of a joint venture called Ionity. The venture was first announced last year, but now they’re putting the parts into place.
The first 20 charging stations, set to open this year, will be built roughly 75 miles apart through Norway, Austria, and Germany, and will rely on the commonly used Combined Charging System standard. By next year, Ionity will open around 100 of these stations throughout the continent, and within three years, the goal is to have 400 charging stations.
The stations will each have a capacity of up to 350 kilowatts of power, which is powerful enough to give a Tesla vehicle around 168 miles of driving range on a half-hour charge.
The idea behind the coalition is to help build out a degree of standardization in an area where irregular uptake can prove a limiting factor, notes Ionity CEO Michael Hajesch.
“Ionity will deliver our common goal of providing customers with fast charging and digital payment capability, to facilitate long-distance travel,” he told The Telegraph this week.
This could help improve what has thus far been a spotty infrastructure build-out, where some countries, like Norway, have seen huge amounts of electric vehicle use, while others have lagged significantly behind.
The coalition at this point is mostly made up of German carmakers, but Hajesch noted that the firm will likely invite other carmakers to join the initiative in the coming months.
Such industry partnerships are increasingly being seen as effective strategies for laying down electric vehicle infrastructure. Last year, for example, the American Public Power Association announced a partnership with the U.S. Department of Energy to help build out charging infrastructure in the U.S.
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