Tesla may have rolled out its battery electric vehicle (BEV) supercharging network across countries including Australia, but Audi, BMW, Ford, Mercedes-Benz and Porsche have now combined forces to roll out rival recharging stations across Europe.
It appears like the automotive equivalent of a gangland attack, with 400 fast-recharging stations set to be paved across the Continent in what is being tagged as an “unprecedented collaboration (to) form a brand-independent network for charging infrastructure.”
BMW Group, Daimler AG (Mercedes-Benz), Ford Motor Company and Volkswagen Group (Audi, Porsche) will have equal share in the Joint Venture agreement that can together ensure the power plug for BEVs and power recharging sites are compatible with all future offerings from each marque.
Future battery-powered plug-ins can access up to 350kW of recharging power, which was said in a joint statement to reflect a “next level of capacity for DC fast charging” unavailable today. Although no recharging times have yet been detailed, the companies also claim an BEV “can recharge brand-independently in a fraction of the time of today’s BEVs.”
“The charging experience is expected to evolve to be as convenient as refueling at conventional gas stations,” the statement added.
Although contruction begins next year, by 2020 the quartet of automotive giants hope to have “thousands” of recharging sites rolled out across Europe, coinciding with the anticipated rise of BEV offerings from each. It even welcomes other manufacturers to invest – although we don’t yet know if the invitation extends to Tesla.
BMW already offers the i3, with a future performance version and large 3 Series-sized i5 expected, while Mercedes-Benz will roll out its EQ sub-brand before the end of the decade, first with a GLC-sized SUV – and by 2025 it expects a quarter of its sales to come from BEVs.
Audi will offer its Q6 all-electric coupe-SUV and sportier VW Group sub-brand Porsche will also ramp up its plug-in offerings, with the Tesla Model S-rivalling Mission E all expected within the next few years.
Such premium brands will no doubt be working on sports car to match or eclipse the sub-3.0-second 0-100km/h claims of the current Model S P100D – perhaps even with the odd other joint venture in place.