New network aims to cut EV charging times

October 20, 2016

A consortium of private companies and the European Union have announced the launch of a network of 25 ultra-fast charging points that link the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, and Austria.  

The Ultra-E project is a first step towards improving the current patchwork of charging points across Europe that is limiting the uptake of electric vehicles (EVs). It forms part of the EU’s low-emission mobility strategy which aims to speed up the deployment of low-emission transport.  

The Ultra-E chargers offer charging power of up to 350kWh, more than double what Tesla's Superchargers can deliver, and seven times more than the majority of current European standard chargers.  

It is so powerful that there are no cars which can currently cope with the immense power output (with Tesla currently leading the way with 120kWh). However, it will be compatible with future models from members of the Ultra-E Project including Audi, BMW and Renault.  

Electric cars will also be able to use the system with a charge rate of 50kWh, but the Ultra-E alliance expects that passenger cars capable of charging at 350kWh will arrive by 2018 – when the project is expected to be completed. Both Volkswagen and Porsche officials have hinted at electric cars that can replenish their battery - or a large part of it - in no more than 15 minutes, rendering long-distance travelling in an electric car increasingly practical. Porsche says that its charging system is able to charge up its Mission E’s battery pack to 80% in about 15 minutes. Ultra-E claims its charging infrastructure provides 300km of range in about 20 minutes.  

The total cost of the project is estimated at around €13 million, half of which is financed by the EU. The completion date is set for 2018 to coincide with EV launches from a number of manufacturers. 

Dr. Marcus Groll, director of high power charging at Allego, said: ‘We are very happy to start the Ultra-E project with a strong partner consortium and thereby build an important first cornerstone for the European ultra-fast charging infrastructure of the future.’

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