BMW Group, Daimler AG, Ford, and Volkswagen have entered into a partnership to create a network of high-speed charging stations for electric vehicles across Europe. The new chargers will be capable of doling out up to 350 kW of power — which would make them almost three times as powerful as Tesla’s Supercharging stations. The result will be “the highest-powered charging network in Europe,” according to a statement released by the manufacturers.
The automakers say that construction will begin in 2017 with “about 400 sites” being targeted, and that the network will have “thousands of high-powered charging points” available by 2020. Those four major conglomerates will be “equal partners” in the joint venture, but according to the statement they are encouraging other manufacturers to “participate in the network.”
One of the reasons for bothering to call on other automakers to hook into this system is because there’s a standards war happening with fast charging networks. The charging network announced today will use the Combined Charging System (CCS) technology, which is what that most major automakers already use for their EVs. But Nissan, Toyota, and Honda are notable holdouts from CCS, because many of their EVs and plug-in hybrids use a competing standard known as CHAdeMO.
Tesla uses its own standard for its Supercharger stations, but sells an adapter for $450 that allows its cars to charge at CHAdeMO-equipped stations. The company is reportedly working on an adapter that would allow its cars to charge at CCS stations, too, but that has not yet been released.
BMW and Volkswagen teamed up to start building a network of CCS chargers last year along the East and West Coasts of the United States. BMW also partnered with EVgo, one of the leading charging network providers in the US, in 2014 in order to build an infrastructure of fast-charging stations in California.
Tesla’s Superchargers deliver up to 120 kW of power, which is enough to add about 170 miles of range with a 30-minute charge. Tripling that power output could not only cut down on the amount of time it takes to “fill up” an EV, but it would also help make lengthy trips more feasible when it comes to electric vehicles.