Was that the signal so many had waited for? On Nov. 29, 2016, BMW, Daimler, Ford and Volkswagen announced the establishment of a joint venture in the electric transportation sector. They explained in a memorandum of understanding that they would join forces and equally share responsibilities for advocating the deployment of a “high-powered DC charging network for battery-electric vehicles covering long-distance travel routes in Europe.” Their plans specify a Europe-wide DC network of 400 Combined Charging Systems to recharge electric car batteries with a capacity of up to 350 kW, which is reported to lead to a significant reduction in charging times as well as a range increase. Construction at freeways and highly frequented highways is said to start in 2017.
When Porsche CEO Oliver Blume was previously asked during an interview with Automobilwoche whether his company would compete with Tesla on its own if necessary, he replied: “We prefer a joint strategy. It is in the interest of all carmakers.” Professor Stefan Bratzel from the FHDW Bergisch Gladbach shares Blume’s opinion. He told rp-online.de: “In essence, it’s an alliance of the most important German manufacturers against Tesla. They intend to push through a system which would isolate the corporation and its network of fast-charging stations.” While Tesla models have Type 2 connectors, the other carmakers favor CSS.
Ford President Mark Fields: “A reliable, ultra-fast charging infrastructure is important for mass consumer adoption and has the potential to transform the possibilities for electric driving.” Audi’s chair of the management board, Rupert Stadler, added: “We intend to create a network that allows our customers on long-distance trips to use a coffee break for recharging.”