We can barely keep up now. If you haven’t been following, Europe is completely onboard now with the ‘ultra-fast’ 350 kW charging technology even before any electric car can actually take advantage of all that power.
The continent is going for future proof charging infrastructure and now a fifth network is starting to install the new, more powerful stations.
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The first network to come to light was Ionity, which is backed by BMW, Mercedes, Ford, and Volkswagen. As we reported earlier this week, it’s starting to take shape and we got our first look at their map of planned stations.
Then there was Ultra-E, which is backed by Allego, Audi, BMW, Magna, Renault, Hubject, and others.
Then, Allego recently launched another bigger network called MEGA-E, which represents a massive effort to deploy over 300 stations.
But that’s not all because last month Renault, who is already involved with one of those 3 networks, decided to back another one in the south of Europe.
Now it’s Fastned’s turn to get on board with 350 kW ultra-fast charging by teaming up with electrification and robotic giant ABB.
The company already operates a network of fast-charging stations in Europe, mainly in the Netherlands, but they have been expanding, as we previously reported.
This week, they opened their first 350 kW station at the ‘De Watering’ service area located on the A8 highway near Amsterdam:
Fastned’s Co-Founder Bart Lubbers commented on the new charging station:
“I am very proud of our new station. María García, our architect, has put a lot of energy into an iconic design that is better in every detail and that’s visible. It’s very important to increase the charging speed, because it makes driving EVs attractive to more people. Because the question that almost every consumer asks is “How long does it take to charge?”.
The company says that they are getting ready for the upcoming next-generation of electric vehicles that will support the higher charge rate, which is why they are adding those new 350 kW chargers to their network.
Fastned currently operates 63 charging stations.
Most of those “upcoming next-generation of electric vehicles that will support higher charge rate” are coming from German automakers and they are expected to first hit the European market.
It makes sense that they would deploy the stations there first and that the automakers are also directly backing several of those efforts – though not this one since Fastned is an independent network already in operation.
These are certainly interesting times for charging infrastructure and I think some competition between networks could really shape the industry into something greater.
The next few years could be almost as exciting in charging as it is on the actual vehicle side of things.