A few days after announcing its massive electric vehicle charging infrastructure expansion, European electric utility E.ON elaborated on its actual plan to rollout charging stations across Europe – including an ‘electric highway’ of ‘ultra-fast charging stations’ that will connect Norway to Italy.
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Aside from the announcement that they will have as many as 10,000 charge points by 2020 and that some will enable a charge rate of up 350 kW, not much was known about E.ON’s ambitious plan.
Now they have released a few more specifics.
They plan to connect 7 European countries from Norway to Italy with 180 ultra-fast charging stations with a modular system that will enable a charge rate of 150 kW that can be later upgraded to 350 kW.
Frank Meyer, Head of Innovation and B2C at E.ON, commented on the announcement:
“Together with strong partners we are taking a joint step towards establishing a comprehensive ultra-fast charging infrastructure in Europe. It is a testament to our commitment to provide convenient e-mobility solutions for our customers in Europe. We see a reliable ultra-fast charging network in combination with our home and destination solutions as main prerequisites for a mass market adoption of electric mobility,”
Here are the main facts of the new ‘electric highway’:
- The first wave of the project will cover 180 sites in Sweden, Denmark, Germany, the United Kingdom, Italy and France and Norway.
- CLEVER and E.ON SE receive support from the EU (CEF program) 10 million EUR from 2017-2020.
- YX in Norway is a facility partner to the project.
- The sites will be placed every 120-180 km along motorways.
- The sites will offer 150 kW charging, with potential for upgrade to 350 kW.
- The first sites are under construction in both Germany and Denmark.
- The ultra-fast charging stations will initially enable charging of a full 400 km range battery in only 20-30 minutes, and charging time will be further reduced as charging capacity is increased and vehicle technology develops. Charging time depends on the specific car.
- The sites will be equipped with 2-6 chargers each.
- The stations will offer charging with CCS (European standard for fast charging).
There are a lot of things to like for EV enthusiasts in this plan, especially the fact that it’s CCS and 150 kW upgradeable to 350 kW. That’s should become the standard for DC fast-charging stations soon enough as the next-generation of electric vehicles is expected to support much higher charge rate than the usual 50 kW that we see today.
My main problem with this plan is the mere “2-6 chargers” per station. Granted, the higher the charge rate the fewer charge points per station you actually need, but we are still talking about people staying there to charge for 20-30 minutes.
With the rise in the number of EVs on the road that we expect in the next few years, we also expect that those stations will be very popular and 2-6 chargers simply will not cut it.
Tesla had the same problem at first with an average of fewer than 6 chargers per stations, but they have now started to build stations with 12, 16, 20 and now even 40 and 50 chargers per station.
If E.ON wants to become a serious player in the public charging space, they need to take example from Tesla here. Hopefully, they can add chargers to those new stations later on.