A signed memorandum of understanding officially set into motion Ford's plan to create the highest-powered charging network in Europe, a notable effort that will be achieved in partnership with BMW Group, Daimier AG, and Volkswagon Group with Audi and Porsche. Together, the team of automakers is slated to quickly build up a large number of stations that enable long-range travel for battery electric drivers - a monumental step towards the adoption of mass-market battery electric vehicles.
The project's end goal is an ultra-fast charging network that will surpass even the most powerful charging system available today, boasting power levels up to 350-kilowatt. Initial stages are scheduled to kick off in 2017, with an initial target of 400 European sites and consumer access to thousands of high-powered charging points by 2020.
Ultimately, the objective for Ford and its team members is to enable travel across vast distances, utilizing open-network charging stations that are located along major roads. As of now, most battery electric vehicle drivers don't have that capability. This new feature is set to reinvent the refueling experience, changing the landscape of charging networks in Europe and facilitating European battery vehicle adoption.
Reports show that the new network will be built using Combined Charging System standard technology, and will broaden the current technical standard for AC and DC electric vehicle charging - giving drivers the ability to reach the next level of capacity for DC fast charging, with a 350-kilowatt threshold. For vehicles that are currently able to accept the maximum charge station power, they'll be able to recharge brand-independently in a fraction of the time.
Representatives from all automakers involved in the new, innovative initiative expressed their visions for the collaboration.
“This high-power charging network provides motorists with another strong argument to move toward electric mobility,” Harald Krüger, chairman of the board of management of BMW AG, said. “The BMW Group has initiated numerous public charging infrastructure projects over the last years. The joint project is another major milestone clearly demonstrating that competitors are combining forces to ramp up e-mobility.” Dr. Dieter Zetsche, chairman of the board of management of Daimler AG and head of Mercedes-Benz Cars, echoed the sentiment. "Together with our partners, we are now installing the highest-powered charging infrastructure in Europe. The availability of high-power stations allows long-distance e-mobility for the first time and will convince more and more customers to opt for an electric vehicle,” he said.
Although the aforementioned auto manufacturers will be equal partners in the joint venture, there is potential for other manufacturers to participate in the revolutionary initiative. Regional partners are also encouraged to cooperate to ensure a more expedited network realization.
Ultimately, “a reliable, ultra-fast charging infrastructure is important for mass consumer adoption and has the potential to transform the possibilities for electric driving,” Mark Fields, the president and CEO at Ford Motor Company, said in a statement. “Ford is committed to developing vehicles and technologies that make people’s lives better, and this charging network will make it easier and more practical for consumers across Europe to own electrified vehicles.”
Learn more about Ford's plans for the future by visiting Sound Ford in Seattle, Washington today.