Four major automakers recently announced they have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to create the highest-powered charging network in Europe. While electric cars like the new Chevy Bolt are curing some of the range anxiety issues that plagued earlier EVs, there’s still one other issue – charging times. Today it takes about 30 minutes to almost fully charge some electric cars, but BMW, Daimler, Ford and Volkswagen have announced a new partnership that will dramatically cut down that time.
The goal for the charging network is to quickly build a sizable number of stations in order to enable long-range travel for electric vehicles, which will make them even more desirable. The idea of a charging network isn’t entirely new, since Tesla and Chargepoint have built similar networks in the U.S., but the big news is how much power these chargers will pack.
Today’s DC Fast Chargers max out at 50 kW of power, which can charge an electric car’s battery up to 80 percent in as little as 20 minutes. The new chargers that will comprise this new partnership will pack up to seven times more power at 350 kW, which will significantly drop the amount of time it takes to recharge an electric car to around 10 minutes.
The first chargers will arrive in 2017, with an initial target of about 400 charging sites in Europe. By 2020, the plan is to have thousands of high-powered charging points in operation. The announcement doesn’t include any networks outside Europe, like in the U.S., but this summer the White House announced that the Department of Energy is researching the feasibility of 350 kW fast chargers.
All images © Volkswagen and Daimler