Germans, Ford To Set Up Fast Charging Network.
Others May Join Soon.
It’s no use car makers cranking up to sell millions of electric cars, if they can’t be easily filled up on long journeys, so Ford, VW, BMW and Daimler have announced a plan to set up a network of charging stations across Europe.
GM, Renault-Nissan, PSA and FSA weren’t involved in the deal, although the companies said others may join later..
“The move will be an important step towards facilitating the mass-market for electric vehicles,” they said in a joint statement.
No word on cost was given.
The build-up will start next year with an initial target of 400 sites. By 2020 there should be thousands of these high-powered charging points, the companies said.
Reuters BreakingViews columnist Olaf Storbeck said he reckoned each charging station cost about €25,000 so establishing this kind of network would cost more than €2 billion if the market share of battery cars rises to 20 per cent of new sales within 10 years.
There were drawbacks to collaboration.
“Carmakers are likely to team up in other areas as well. Joint production of battery cells is one obvious candidate for partnership. Shareholders will welcome collaboration that helps lower costs. But consumers may see a dark side. The risk is that old rivals form a cosy cartel, or use the new alliances to freeze out competitors. Trustbusters will need to keep their eyes on the road,” Storbeck said.
And it is just possible this could be a huge waste of money.
Paris-based Frost & Sullivan analyst Nicolas Meilhan has said the building of a fast-charging network is unnecessary and won’t work because plug-in hybrids will become the norm, not battery-only vehicles.
In a recent interview, Meilhan said this.
“Renault has now raised the range of its Zoe to 400 kilometers and Volkswagen claims 600 kilometers by 2020 (for the ID), but this kind of range will only be needed for about 5 per cent of trips when driving on motorways. And when you go for long trips at the weekend or holidays, even if each (gas station) has two chargers that will take 20 minutes for a “refill” while for regular fuel there will be 10 outlets which take a maximum of 4 minutes. People will have to wait two to three hours and nobody is going to do that,” Meilhan said.