Automakers announce E.U. fast-charging partnership

Source: Ariel Wittenberg, E&E News reporter • Posted: Thursday, December 1, 2016

Five major automakers have announced plans for a network of high-powered electric vehicle chargers on highways across Europe.

Beginning in 2017, BMW Group, Daimler AG, Ford Motor Co., Audi AG and Porsche AG say they will build 400 charging locations in Europe. The chargers, with levels up to 350 kilowatts, would significantly reduce charging times compared with currently available systems.

The network aims to enable long-distance travel across European highways, ultimately making charging as convenient as filling a gas tank.

The chargers will use the SAE Combo fast-charging system, and will be able to power any car that has a compatible plug, not just those produced by participating automakers.

“This high-power charging network provides motorists with another strong argument to move towards electric mobility,” BMW Chairman of the Board Harald Kr├╝ger said in a statement.

The agreement is the largest collaboration of its kind between automakers. By comparison, Nissan Motor Co. Ltd. and BMW announced a landmark agreement last December to build 120 fast chargers in the United States.

Audi Chairman of the Board of Management Rupert Stadler said the cooperation will help “boost a broader market adoption of e-mobility and speed up the shift toward emission-free driving.”

Ford President and CEO Mark Fields agreed.

“A reliable, ultra-fast charging infrastructure is important for mass consumer adoption and has the potential to transform the possibilities for electric driving,” he said.