VW, BMW, Ford to set up charg­ing net­work

China Daily (USA) - - BUSINESS - By BLOOMBERG

Volk­swa­gen AG, BMW AG and Ford Mo­tor Co plan to set up a Euro­pean net­work for the speedy charg­ing of elec­tric-car bat­ter­ies as the auto man­u­fac­tur­ers seek to over­come cus­tomer re­sis­tance to the ve­hi­cles.

The part­ner­ship, which will also in­clude MercedesBenz par­ent Daim­ler AG, aims to es­tab­lish “thou­sands” of sta­tions along Euro­pean high­ways by 2020, the au­tomak­ers said on Tues­day in a state­ment.

With an ini­tial tar­get of about 400 sites, the group plans to start the roll­out in 2017, de­ploy­ing tech­nol­ogy that will be “sig­nif­i­cantly faster” than cur­rent set­ups.

“A reli­able, ul­tra-fast charg­ing in­fra­struc­ture is im­por­tant for mass con­sumer adop­tion and has the po­ten­tial to trans­form the pos­si­bil­i­ties for elec­tric driv­ing,” Ford Chief Executive Of­fi­cerMark Fields said.

The rare broad-based co­op­er­a­tion shows the strains on car­mak­ers as they in­vest bil­lions of dol­lars to de­velop bat­tery-pow­ered ve­hi­cles to com­ply with tighter en­vi­ron­men­tal reg­u­la­tions.

Buy­ers have so far shown lit­tle in­ter­est in the mod­els be­cause of lim­ited driv­ing range, the time needed for recharg­ing and the high price of ve­hi­cles.

BMW sold fewer than 24,100 of its i3 elec­tric city car last year, out of the com­pany’s to­tal 2.2 mil­lion de­liv­er­ies, while the Re­naultNis­san au­tomak­ing al­liance has only handed over 350,000 elec­tric ve­hi­cles to cus­tomers since 2010, ver­sus a tar­get of 1.5 mil­lion by the end of 2016.

The Ger­man gov­ern­ment agreed ear­lier this year to a 1 bil­lion euro ($1.06 bil­lion) fi­nanc­ing pack­age to en­cour­age elec­tric-car pur­chases, with about twothirds of the fig­ure slated for de­vel­op­ing road­side charg­ing sta­tions.

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