The main obstacle between consumers and electrical vehicles is a lack of charge points, though that could change as major manufacturers join forces.
BMW Group, Daimler AG, Ford Motor Company and Volkswagen Group have joined forces to help bring a suitable charging network to Europe.
The plan – a signed memorandum of understanding – is to build a sizeable number of stations quickly throughout the continent to enable better coverage for e-car consumers.
The charge points will be the “highest-powered charging network” in Europe and the build-up is planned to start in 2017.
The installations will, should the project be achieved, enjoy power levels up to 350kW, significantly faster than the most powerful charging system deployed today.
An initial target of about 400 sites in Europe is planned, but by the end of the decade, thousands of such points will hopefully be in existence.
“This high-power charging network provides motorists with another strong argument to move toward electric mobility,” said BMW’s Harald Krüger. “The BMW Group has initiated numerous public charging infrastructure projects over the last years. The joint project is another major milestone clearly demonstrating that competitors are combining forces to ramp up e-mobility.”
The goal is to enable long-distance travel through open-network charging stations along highways and major thoroughfares.
Although nowhere near the levels of convenience and speed offered by modern refuelling stations, it is hoped that these electric charge points will evolve to replicate that.
“We intend to create a network that allows our customers on long-distance trips to use a coffee break for recharging,” says Audi’s Rupert Stadler.
“Reliable, fast-charging services are a key factor for drivers to choose an electric vehicle. With this cooperation, we want to boost broader market adoption of e-mobility and speed up the shift toward emission-free driving.”
The charge points will be based on the Combined Charging System standard technology.
The four founding companies will put “substantial investments” into the network, each enjoying equal partnership. Other car manufacturers have also been invited to get on board.