IONITY, the new ‘ultra-fast’ joint electric car charging network by BMW, Mercedes, Ford and Volkswagen, is starting to take shape in Europe.
Today, the venture announced a series of new partnerships for the deployment of its charging stations. Interestingly, they are all with petrol station and truck stop companies.
The network plans 400 stations with a capacity of 350 kW across Europe by 2020 – starting with 20 stations by the end of the year.
They had already announced partnerships with “Tank & Rast”, “Circle K” and “OMV” to deploy stations in Germany, Norway, and Austria.
Today, they are expanding the deal with Shell to bring the total location deals to 18 countries.
Marcus Groll, COO of IONITY, said about the new announcement:
“The agreements with these prestigious partners constitute an important initial milestone in our relatively short company history. So in the future, we will be able to offer a large number of fast charging stations at attractive sites along major roads in Europe,”
The deal with Shell will bring IONITY charging stations to Belgium, France, Great Britain, the Netherlands, Austria, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia, the Czech Republic and Hungary.
István Kapitány, Shell Executive Vice President of Retail, said about the deal:
“Customers want to be able to travel long distances in electric vehicles – with the knowledge that there is a reliable, convenient means of charging their vehicles,”
This is just the latest of several efforts by the petrol giant to enter the electric vehicle charging market. They announced that they would start deploying electric car charging stations in Britain and the Netherlands and we even saw their first Shell-branded charging station last month.
IONITY is arguably the most exciting thing to come out of the EV infrastructure sector in a long time. 5 major automakers joined force to deploy a significant network using the CCS standard.
I’d argue that the scale is not on par with Tesla’s Supercharger network, but the roll-out seems appropriate for the timeline on which those automakers plan to release their electric vehicles in Europe over the next few years.
Now I know that petrol stations are not exactly where EV drivers want to end up recharging, but they do have some prime locations ideal to enable long distance driving, which is what IONITY is aiming to do.