Thu, May 17, 2018 - Page 9 News List

The race is on to build electric car charging network in Europe

By David McHugh  /  AP, MUNICH, Germany

However, he could not find a charging station he could use by the seashore. On the way back, he was able to charge at a rest stop, but only by asking a non-electric car owner to move his vehicle away from the lone charging pole.

A battery-only car would have never made it home, and he could not use one to visit his cousin 650km away in Rosenheim.

“I looked at the option... The infrastructure is still so bad, I just don’t want to risk that I get stranded,” he said. “Once the infrastructure gets better, that might be my next car.”

Tesla has shown how charging infrastructure can drive vehicle sales. It has 1,229 stations with 9,623 fast chargers in Europe alone, where it has cut into Mercedes and BMW’s sales of luxury cars.

However, it has its own proprietary plug.

Ionity is using the CCS plug backed by the EU as a common standard for all.

In both the US and Europe, the situation is roughly similar: More chargers available in jurisdictions where government strongly backs electric vehicles, such as California, Norway or the Netherlands. Elsewhere, chargers can get harder to find for long stretches along rural highways.

Volkswagen, which agreed to invest in low-emission driving to settle charges it cheated on diesel emissions, is building 300 highway charging sites in the US by June next year through its Electrify America unit.

Japan has 40,000 charging points, exceeding its 34,000 gas stations, according to Nissan, but many of those are private garages.

Ionity is counting on the large 350-kilowatt capacity of its publicly available chargers — almost three times the 120 kilowatts per vehicle of Tesla’s Superchargers.

No car currently on the market can make full use of 350 kilowatt charging capacity, but they are coming: next year.

Porsche plans to introduce the Mission E. Porsche said that the sleek, low-slung sports car will take 15 minutes to charge for 400km more driving.

Tesla and its founder, Elon Musk, “showed it’s not enough to just build electric cars” without also building charging infrastructure, said Ferdinand Dudenhoeffer, director of the CAR Center Automotive Research at the University of Duisberg-Essen.

The automakers “are late, but it’s better than it was ... it remains the case that without Elon Musk the carmakers would not have realized this,” he said.

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