The project could electrify EV demand among European drivers.

Driving an electric vehicle across Europe is about to get a lot easier thanks to a new joint venture from a quartet of automakers. BMW Group, Daimler AG, Ford Motor Company, and Volkswagen Group will partner in an effort to build 400 charging sites with cutting-edge equipment along major highways. The effort will allow EV customers to travel across the continent, and the first chargers will be in operation next year.

With charging levels up to 350 kilowatts, these sites will let people get back on the road quickly. For reference, Tesla’s Supercharger network run at 120 kW, and the company touts that the system gives vehicles 170 miles (274 kilometers) of range in 30 minutes.

Porsche Mission E Concept

Unfortunately, differing standards will mean that some EV drivers won’t be able to use these sites. This joint venture is using the Combined Charging System rather than the competing CHAdeMO charger. The Nissan-Renault is a major proponent of the latter solution; so popular EVs like the Nissan Leaf aren’t compatible with this joint venture’s upcoming chargers.

The automakers undertaking this massive project are quite clear that the goal is to increase EV acceptance in Europe. By removing any anxiety about taking a long trip, they hope that buyers might be more willing to consider greener powertrains.

These companies need electric powertrains to be a viable option because they are investing billions into battery technology for next-generation vehicles, especially Volkswagen Group’s brands. For example, the VW I.D. concept previews an EV for 2020 that could eventually replace the venerable Golf. The Audi E-Tron crossover arrives in 2018 as the premium brand’s entry in the segment. In addition, Porsche is prepping the production version of the Mission E for around 2019 as a sport sedan that could rival the Tesla Model S.

Source: Porsche

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