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Could this be the turning point for electric vehicles?

Jan 20, 2017
So-called ‘range anxiety’ has been a major inhibitor to the take up of electrically powered vehicles, with fears of running out of power while searching for an elusive charging point putting off all but the greenest of drivers.

But all that seems about to change thanks to a commitment by a consortium of European major motor manufacturers to dramatically increase the number and efficiency of charging stations in the next few years.

BMW Group, Daimler AG, Ford Motor Company and Volkswagen Group with Audi and Porsche have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to create the highest-powered electric vehicle charging network in Europe. The goal is the quick build-up of a sizable number of stations to enable long-range travel for Battery Electric Vehicle (BEV) drivers. This will be an important step towards facilitating mass-market BEV adoption.

The projected ultra-fast high-powered charging network with power levels up to 350 kW will be significantly faster than the most powerful charging system deployed today. The build-up is planned to start in 2017. An initial target of about 400 sites in Europe is planned.

By 2020, customers should have access to thousands of high-powered charging points. The goal is to enable long-distance travel through open-network charging stations along highways and major thoroughfares, which has not been feasible for most BEV drivers to date. The charging experience is expected to evolve to be as convenient as refuelling at conventional fuel stations.

The network will be based on Combined Charging System (CCS) standard technology. The planned charging infrastructure expands the existing technical standard for AC and DC charging of electric vehicles to the next level of capacity for DC fast charging, with up to 350 kW. BEVs that are engineered to accept this full power of the charge stations can recharge brand-independently in a fraction of the time of today’s BEVs. The network is intended to serve all CCS equipped vehicles to facilitate the BEV adoption in Europe.

Photo: BEV charging connector

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