Before electric vehicles (EVs) can truly supplant their fossil fuel-powered predecessors, the world needs a better network of charging stations. Now, several major automakers, including BMW, Daimler, and the Volkswagen Group, have announced IONITY, a joint partnership to develop and construct such a network in Europe.
The group plans to build a High-Power Charging (HPC) network of charging stations along major routes in Germany, Norway, and Austria. Each station will have 350 kW charging points, and the goal is to open 20 stations before the end of 2017, then increase the total number to more than 100 in 2018. By 2020, they hope to have 400 HPC stations in operation.
IONITY is sure to have some competition from Tesla, which already has Supercharging stations throughout Europe and plans to add more.
Just last month, Elon Musk's company announced that Norway would be the site of a 42-stall Supercharger station — their largest in Europe. These Superchargers have a capacity of 145 kW, so the IONITY stations could boast much shorter charge times, perhaps swaying some Telsa customers to choose them instead.
Regardless of whether they're owned by Tesla or another automaker, more charging stations can only be a good thing. By making it easier for drivers to travel longer distances in EVs, they'll eliminate one of the more significant drawbacks to owning an electric car.
“The first pan-European HPC network plays an essential role in establishing a market for electric vehicles," said IONITY CEO Michael Hajesch in a press release. "IONITY will deliver our common goal of providing customers with fast charging and digital payment capability, to facilitate long-distance travel."