During a visit to the be.connected conference on electromobility, I had the opportunity to speak to the CEO of IONITY. IONITY is a joint venture of automobile manufacturers BMW Group, Daimler AG, Ford Motor Company and the Volkswagen Group including its subsidiaries Audi and Porsche. The well-funded start-up has its headquarters in Munich and was founded just one year ago in 2017.
The goal for CEO Michael Hajesch, a former BMW manager, and his team: to set up and operate a network of efficient fast-charging stations for electric vehicles along Europe’s main transport axes. For the joint venture, the biggest obstacle to the mass acceptance of electric vehicles and electric mobility is the lack of a reliable, user-friendly and ultra-fast charging infrastructure outside cities and metropolitan regions. IONITY’s task for the past year has been to remove this obstacle throughout Europe and establish a fast charging network.
The Austrian has.to.be gmbh had invited to its be.connected conference near Munich. The consulting and software company is one of IONITY’s partners. Partners who, in addition to the IONITY shareholders, are immensely important for the rapid success of the start-up. After all, a tight schedule was set for the expansion of a total of 400 fast charging stations.
The current price point is exciting, because for charging at IONITY you pay 8 euros flat for one charging process. This greatly simplified pricing model will certainly change with increasing demand. For the time being, however, all IONITY charging stations in Europe charge a fixed price per charging process – for direct payment via smartphone: 8 euros, 8 British pounds, 8 Swiss francs, depending on location. In Scandinavia, the price is 80 Norwegian, Swedish or Danish crowns. How cool is that?
All vehicles that allow direct current charging using the Combined Charging System (CCS), the most widely used EV charging standard in Europe, can be charged at IONITY. The technology of IONITY charging stations automatically optimises the charging speed to the maximum permitted by the vehicle’s battery. The vehicle is then charged at maximum speed – whether 150 or 350 kW. From a technical point of view, the Porsche Taycan will then be the first electric vehicle that can exploit the full fast charging power of IONITY. But the new Audi eTron will also be able to rely on fast charging power from 2020 and use the full 350 kW.
This latest example shows how important partnerships are for IONITY:
Shell has opened its first high-performance charging station in France in cooperation with the charging network operator IONITY. This will help European electric vehicle drivers to drive longer distances. The powerful chargers take up to ten minutes to charge next generation electric vehicles, making them up to three times faster than any other type of charger currently available to drivers.
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“Electric drivers should be able to travel long distances confidently and easily,” said David Bunch, Shell’s Vice President Retail in Europe. “Building a convenient network of reliable, powerful chargers is critical to getting many more electric vehicles on the road. We are one of IONITY’s most important partners because we share this vision”.
“400 rapid charging stations throughout Europe will be built within two years. BAM!”
The installation of high performance chargers at 80 stations in Europe is part of Shell’s global effort to provide more and cleaner energy solutions. The chargers are being added to the acquisition of NewMotion, one of Europe’s largest chargers, and a growing number of Shell Recharge fast chargers at Shell forecourts in the UK, the Netherlands and China. Around 170 Shell brand petrol stations around the world now offer charging facilities.
Tesla Model 3 now also available at IONITY
And since this week IONITY has gained a new clientele. The Tesla Model 3 electric cars are delivered to Europe equipped with CCS connectors. Therefore they are no longer dependent on the Tesla Supercharger stations. 400 IONITY fast charging stations on the European motorways are looking forward to this new clientele.
We will continue to report.