* Carmakers plan to build 400 charging sites in first step
* Power levels up to 350 KW hours reduce charging time
* New JV open to other carmakers
BERLIN, Nov 29 Top carmakers in Germany have
agreed to jointly invest in thousands of ultra-fast charging
sites across Europe to boost mainstream acceptance of electric
cars, the companies said.
Spurred on by the success of U.S. rival Tesla which
has received huge pre-orders for its Model 3 car, German rivals
such as Volkswagen and Daimler's Mercedes
are accelerating their own electric car programmes.
But scarce charging points and sticker prices for electric
cars that still exceed those of comparable combustion models
stifle mass-market demand despite sales incentives.
To help turn the tables, VW, its Audi and Porsche luxury
brands, BMW, Daimler and Ford's European division are
planning a joint venture to fund the setting-up of charging
sites starting next year, the six carmakers said in a joint
statement published on Tuesday.
The manufacturers want to create about 400 charging sites in
a first step and, by 2020, ensure that customers have access to
thousands of charging points, they said, citing a memorandum of
The network will be based on so-called combined charging
system (CCS) technology, enhancing existing AC and DC charging
standards and allowing for ultra-fast power levels of up to 350
kilowatt (KW) hours.
"The availability of high-power stations allows
long-distance electric mobility for the first time and will
convince more and more customers to opt for an electric
vehicle," Daimler Chief Executive Dieter Zetsche said.
Executives across the industry predict electric cars will
become increasingly popular thanks to advances that make
batteries get cheaper and more powerful and the VW emissions
scandal, which has sparked a regulatory backlash against
The six carmakers said they will be equal partners in the
initiative and also asked other competitors to participate in
the project, adding the joint venture will cooperate with
(Reporting by Andreas Cremer; Editing by Maria Sheahan)