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Four automakers team up to create an electric car charging network across Europe

BMW, Daimler, Ford, and VW create Ionity joint-venture to expand fast charging infrastructure

A group of automakers has created a new company to build a network of 400 fast chargers across Europe ahead of the wave of new electric cars they’ve promised in the next few years, as countries push EVs as a way to meet emissions goals.

Ionity, announced Friday by BMW Group, Daimler AG, Ford Motor Company and the Volkswagen Group, will install a network of 400 high-power EV chargers across Europe by 2020. There are already 20 chargers under the Ionity network that are being installed this year in Germany, Austria, and Norway at 75-mile intervals, the companies said. Those chargers would also be maintained through partnerships with stores such as Tank & Rast, Circle K, and OMV.

“The first pan-European HPC network plays an essential role in establishing a market for electric vehicles,” CEO Michael Hajesch said in the news release. “Ionity will deliver our common goal of providing customers with fast charging and digital payment capability to facilitate long-distance travel.”

Such a network is also necessary to compete with the efforts from Tesla’s Supercharger network, which is now 7,000 strong worldwide. It uses the company’s own connector and started a major European expansion three years ago. To that, Ionity has invited other companies to join the venture in which the four initial automakers have an equal share.

Given Europe’s size and number of governments, Ionity represents a significant step toward increasing electric vehicle charging infrastructure as EVs become more important for cutting emissions in major urban areas.

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