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Ionity opens first charging station

Ionity station at Brohltal-Ost on the A61.

Pan-European charging consortium Ionity has opened its first fast-charging station in Germany, with reports suggesting that new members may also be on the cards

Charging provider Ionity has opened its first high-power charging station in Germany.

In a brief statement on its website, the group announced that its first station at Brohltal-Ost on the A61 motorway in Germany’s Rhineland Palatinate was now open, and would be operated by service station owner Tank & Rast. Promoting the new CCS station, which should offer charging at rates of between 150 kW and 350 kW, Ionity also said access would be free to EV drivers until May 31, 2018. After that period, it is not yet clear what prices will be set.

Although no EVs are currently capable of accepting levels as high as 350kW, the CCS stations will provide power at the 50kW level suitable for most models, but will also lay the groundwork for the influx of new high-power capable models expected in the early 2020s.

With plans to open 400 of these “ultra-fast” charging stations across Europe by that date, the joint venture already has some of the most ambitious plans in the region – on average there should be one station every 120km. Having been founded by heavyweight European automakers including BMW Group, Daimler, Ford and Volkswagen, it’s likely to be a significant force in expanding fast-charging coverage.

This year alone, Ionity has said it will expand its network to more than 100 stations, 20 of which are already permitted and/or under construction. Other partners are also reported to be joining the network soon, including Kuwait Petroleum-owned Q8 and UK petrol station operator MRH.

Ionity’s 350kW infrastructure also takes the fight to current market leader Tesla, whose widespread pool of Superchargers is largely rated to 120kW. Yet recent reports have also suggested that the US EV pioneer may be in talks to partner up with the European provider to expand the network.

Although Tesla’s previous models have not used the European CCS standard plug – and its Superchargers use Tesla’s proprietary plug or CHAdeMO via an adapter – the automaker has joined the consortium which oversees CCS architecture, CharIN, in 2016. This has led to much speculation over whether the Model 3 may be CCS-compatible in Europe.

 

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