With the rapid increase in electric mobility, the need for larger networks of fast-charging stations is growing at an equally rapid rate. The problem is that, as the amount of EVs grow on the road, charging stations networks are growing far slower. So car companies are getting involved to help develop networks of fast-charging stations themselves. Tesla was the first to do so, with its Supercharger network across the United States and much of Europe. Now, Audi is joining other automotive giants to help create a new network of high-powered charging stations, called IONITY.
IONITY will be a high-powered charging network across Europe to help long-distance electric travel far easier. Audi, along with the other automakers involved, plan on launching approximately 400 HPC stations by 2020. Though, according to IONITY Chief Executive Officer Michael Hajesch and Chief Operating Officer Marcus Groll, a more modest goal of 50 HPCs by 2018 will get things started.
“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.
Twenty HPC stations will debut this year, which is not a lot but a start. All of which will have a capacity of up to 350 kW per charging point and the network will use the European charging standard Combined Charging System to significantly reduce charging times compared to existing systems. This use of standardized charging stations will allow them to be accessible to all EV drivers, thus ridding the exclusivity of some chargers, such as Tesla’s.
At the moment, the car companies involved are Audi, BMW, Daimler, Volkswagen and Ford, all of which have equal shares in IONITY. Other automakers have been invited to join the initiative, so it will be interesting to see which companies jump on board.