BMW, Daimler, Ford, Volkswagen with Audi & Porsche to push Europe towards an electric future

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bev-mouIt was announced earlier today that BMW Group, Daimler AG, Ford Motor Company and Volkswagen Group with Audi and Porsche, have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to create the highest powered charging network in Europe. The common goal is for a quick build-up of a sizable number of stations in order to enable long-range travel for battery electric vehicle drivers. This in turn will facilitate mass-market BEV adoption.

The network will be based on Combined Charging System (CCS) standard technology.The planned charging infrastructure expands the existing technical standard for AC- and DC charging of electric vehicles to the next level of capacity for DC fast charging with up to 350kW. BEVs that are engineered to accept this full power of the charge stations can recharge brand-independently in a fraction of the time of today’s BEVs. This network is intended to serve all CCS equipped vehicles to facilitate BEV adoption in Europe.

BMW Group
“This high-power charging network provides motorists with another strong argument to move towards electric mobility”, says Harald Krüger, Chairman of the Board of Management of BMW AG. “The BMW Group has initiated numerous public charging infrastructure projects over the last years. The joint project is another major milestone clearly demonstrating that competitors are combining forces to ramp-up e-mobility.”

Daimler AG
“The breakthrough of e-mobility requires two things: convincing vehicles and a comprehensive charging infrastructure. With our new brand EQ, we are launching our electric product offensive: by 2025, our portfolio will include more than ten fully electric passenger cars. Together with our partners, we are now installing the highest-powered charging infrastructure in Europe”, says Dr. Dieter Zetsche, Chairman of the Board of Management of Daimler AG and Head of Mercedes-Benz Cars. “The availability of high-power stations allows long-distance e-mobility for the first time and will convince more and more customers to opt for an electric vehicle.”

Ford Motor Company
“A reliable, ultra-fast charging infrastructure is important for mass consumer adoption and has the potential to transform the possibilities for electric driving”, says Mark Fields, president and CEO, Ford Motor Company. “Ford is committed to developing vehicles and technologies that make people’s lives better, and this charging network will make it easier and more practical for customers across Europe to own electrified vehicles.”

AUDI AG
“We intend to create a network that allows our customers on long-distance trips to use a coffee break for recharging”, says Rupert Stadler, Chairman of the Board of Management of AUDI AG. “Reliable fast charging services are a key factor for drivers to choose an electric vehicle. With this cooperation we want to boost a broader market adoption of e-mobility and speed up the shift towards emission-free driving.”

Porsche AG
“There are two decisive aspects for us: ultra-fast charging and placing the charging stations at the right positions”, says Oliver Blume, Chairman of the Executive Board of Porsche AG. “Together, these two factors enable us to travel in an all-electrically powered car as in a conventional combustion engine vehicle. As automobile manufacturer, we actively shape our future, not only by developing all-electrically powered vehicles but by building up the necessary infrastructure as well.”

The automobile manufacturers intend to make substantial investments to create the network, underscoring each company’s belief in the future of electric mobility. While the founding partners – BMW Group, Daimler AG, Ford Motor Company and Volkswagen Group – will be equal partners in the Joint Venture, other automobile manufacturers will be encouraged to participate in the network to help establish convenient charging solutions for BEV customers. The Joint Venture is also open for cooperations with regional partners.

This Joint Venture formation is subject to execution of definitive agreements and merger control approval in various jurisdictions.

bev-mou-2Over here in Southeast Asia, we are still some way off from an electric future. Although EEVs are starting to become a norm here, we simply do not yet have the infrastructure to support quick charging electric cars. There were some initiatives kicked off about two years ago, with several car park vendors in Klang Valley offering charging stations. However, these bays were rarely governed properly by car park vendors and often abused by folks driving regular petrol burners.Over time, we’ve seen some of these bays removed from some malls.

As much as we like conventional motors, there’s no denying that we are moving towards an electric future. Adoption rates in this part of the world are slow, with cost typically acting as the primary hindrance. In Malaysia, GreenTech Malaysia already has plans to roll out charging stations across Malaysia, and have also introduced a fleet of Teslas that can be leased by private limited companies or multi-national companies (as opposed to only GLCs before).

There are no plans yet for leasing to individuals, and despite the lease-to-own programme where a customer stands to benefit from tax exemptions, the cars remain comparatively expensive. Small and slow step, sure – but still a positive step towards a greener future.

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From supercar spotting on the streets of Kuala Lumpur, Won has moved onto the realms of motoring journalism since 2011. He has a keen eye for automotive photography, a penchant for fast cars, and the occasional hunger for munching corners.

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