Daimler AG, BMW Group, Ford Motor Company and the Volkswagen Group with Audi and Porsche have formed the IONITY joint venture set to create a High-Power Charging (HPC) network for electric vehicles across Europe.
IONITY will implement and operate about 400 fast charging stations across European major thoroughfares until 2020. Based in Munich, Germany, the joint venture is led by Chief Executive Officer Michael Hajesch and Chief Operating Officer Marcus Groll, with a growing team, set to number 50 by the start of 2018.
“The first pan-European HPC network plays an essential role in establishing a market for electric vehicles. IONITY will deliver our common goal of providing customers with fast charging and digital payment capability, to facilitate long-distance travel,” said Hajesch.
A total of 20 stations will be opened to the public this year, located on major roads in Germany, Norway and Austria, at intervals of 120 km, through partnerships with “Tank & Rast”, “ Circle K” and “OMV”. Through 2018, the network will expand to more than 100 stations, each one enabling multiple customers, driving different manufacturer cars, to charge their vehicles simultaneously.
With a capacity of up to 350 kW per charging point, the network will use the European charging standard Combined Charging System to significantly reduce charging times compared to existing systems. The brand-agnostic approach and Europe-wide distribution is expected to help make electrified vehicles more appealing.
Choosing the best locations takes into account potential integration with existing charging technologies and IONITY is negotiating with existing infrastructure initiatives, including those supported by the participating companies as well as political institutions. The investment underlines the commitment that the participating manufacturers are making in electric vehicles and relies on international co-operation across the industry.
The founding partners, BMW Group, Daimler AG, Ford Motor Company and the Volkswagen Group, have equal shares in the joint venture, while other automotive manufacturers are invited to help expand the network.