Aware of the inevitability of the electric-vehicle (EV) era, Europe has embarked on the setup of ultra-fast charging stations, in tandem with the fast developing EV industry.
Five ultra-fast charging stations have been under construction or completed in Europe, including one which was inaugurated in Germany, the first such facility in Europe, last December. The station was part of the Ultra-E project, forged by charging-service providers Allego and Hubject, together with automakers Audi, BMW, and Renault. The project has called for construction of another 20 charging stations in Germany, Belgium, and Holland.
Allego recently unveiled an even more ambitious project, dubbed MEGA-E, calling for the construction of over 300 charging stations in Europe. Renault followed suit with announcement of E-VIA FLEX-E project, scheduled to start constructing charging stations, 150 KW to 350 KW in capacities, in Italy, France, and Spain from the end of 2018.
Another aggressive player is Ionity, which began, in cooperation with Dutch Shell, to build 20 charging stations in Dec. 2017, shortly after its establishment, by BMW, Daimler, Ford, and Volkswagen jointly, in November. It plans to build 100 ultra-fast charging stations, with 350 KW in capacity, in Europe in 2018, before raising the number to 400 by 2020.
According to their agreement inked in November 2017, Ionity and Dutch Shell will build ultra-fast charging stations in 18 European nations, including Belgium, France, the U.K., Holland, Austria, Poland, Slovenia, Czech, and Hungary, making charging service available at one fourth of Dutch Shell’s gas stations along freeways in Europe.
Backed by 4.1 million euros (US$5 million) of subsidiary granted by Germany government in Sept. 2017, Dutch startup Fastned has teamed up with robotic manufacturer ABB in a project calling for setup of 25 ultra-fast charging stations, each with 350 KW in capacity, in Germany. The company has already kicked off operation of a 350 KW charging station in the De Watering service area of freeway near Amsterdam.
With many European nations having unveiled plans to ban fuel-oil cars, electric models are poised to become mainstream vehicles on Europe’s auto market in next 10 to 20 years, prompting more and more companies to join the charging-service market.