Four major car manufacturers have taken a big step towards creating a standardized method of charging electric vehicles.
BMW Group, Mercedes-Benz parent Daimler AG, Ford Motor Company and the Volkswagen Group with Audi and Porsche, are planning a network of high-powered DC charging outlets on major long-distance travel routes throughout Europe.
Eventually the network will number around 400 locations, offering power levels of up to 350kW, which will significantly reduce charging times compared to those offered by current charge outlets.
Only cars fitted with the Combined Charging Standard (CCS) connector will be able to use the stations. CCS is described as compatible with most current and next-generation EVs, and with such a large swathe of the automotive market backing it the system will present a strong case for being adopted as an EV standard.
According to those behind the plan the goal is to enable long-distance travel through open-network charging stations along highways and major routes, which has not been feasible for most battery electric vehicle drivers to date.
The charging experience is expected to evolve to be “as convenient as refueling at conventional gas stations.”
Such a network is considered essential to encourage the wider take-up of EVs among consumers. “This high-power charging network provides motorists with another strong argument to move towards electric mobility,” says BMW chairman Harald Krüger, while his counterpart at Audi, Rupert Stadler, adds; “We intend to create a network that allows our customers on long-distance trips to use a coffee break for recharging.”
The joint programme comes as the manufacturers plan great expansion in the number of electric vehicles they offer – Daimler alone intends to have 10 fully electric cars in its range by 2025.