Ford and Europe's auto giants to build a long-distance electric charging network

  • 20 fast-charging stations to be in operation by the end of 2017
  • 400 stations aimed to be built across Europe by 2020
  • Technology would have twice charging capacity of Tesla's offering
Johannes Eisele | AFP | Getty Images

Are electric cars about to go long distance?

Ford, BMW, Daimler and Volkswagen Group with Audi and Porsche have unveiled a joint plan to build fast-charging stations for electric cars across Europe.

Named as 'IONITY', the joint venture aims to install 400 high-power charging stations by 2020, with the first 20 locations to be up and running by the end of this year.

The leader of the venture, IONITY chief executive Michael Hajesch, said in a press statement Friday that the network will ease fears about electric cars and long-distance travel.

"IONITY will deliver our common goal of providing customers with fast charging and digital payment, to facilitate long-distance travel," he said.

Daimler AG
CCS charging technology for e-cars towards 350 kW

An initial phase of 20 charging stations will be built at existing gas stations on major roads in Germany, Austria and Norway. Placed at intervals of 75 miles apart, each charging point will allow multiple drivers to charge at the same time.

The network will be based on a new Combined Charging System (CCS) technology standard that will accept different makes and models of cars. The promised capacity of 350 kilowatts per charging point more than doubles Tesla's current standard for its 'second generation' chargers that have a capacity of up to 145 kW.

Daimler said in its release that battery electric cars built to accept the new technology will be able to recharge in a "fraction of the time" of today's current stations.

And although no solid estimates of recharge time are available, Porsche claimed in 2016 that if fast recharging stations were built, its 2019 Mission E car battery could charge to 80 percent from flat in around 15 minutes.

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