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European carmakers build out charging network for electrics

by Ace Damon
European carmakers build out charging network for electrics

FRANKFURT –
The network of European battery-powered road charging station automakers is taking shape ahead of an expected increase in electric car sales as manufacturers strive to reach new emission limits.

Ionity, a joint venture created by automakers to build the network, said Thursday it has completed more than 200 stations and expects to have 400 in operation by the end of the year. Each station has 4-6 charging columns.

The highway network is seen as a key step in convincing car buyers that they can switch to electricity and still take long road trips without worrying about running out of juice during a family vacation.

Ionity CEO Michael Hajesch updated the progress as the company announced the price of electricity at its high-speed stations in 20 countries – soon to be 24 -. Munich-based Ionity is a joint effort between BMW, Daimler, Ford and Volkswagen Group, which also includes Audi and Porsche.

Last year, battery-powered cars accounted for only 2% of the market in Europe, but manufacturers need to sell more to meet the EU's toughest greenhouse gas emission limits from 2021. Automakers that do not reach the limits face fines of thousands of euros per vehicle.

The network is also a response to California's electric car maker Tesla, which has its own charging network. The Ionity network will be open to Tesla owners.

Hajesch said Ionity will charge 79 cents per kilowatt hour for customers who do not contract with a mobility service provider for a different fee. This replaces the previous price of 8 euros ($ 8.80) per loading session.

The new price for charging quickly on the road and following the road is higher than what car owners typically pay to charge overnight at home, where charging can cost about 30 cents per kilowatt hour, but it takes hours Ionity's 350 kilowatt stations mean charging can be completed in less than 10-15 minutes for cars that can make the most of it; other models will charge more slowly.

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