Electric vehicle (EV) charging specialist Ionity will open the first of 50 planned 350kWh rapid charge stations in the UK next month - with the remaining sites to be added over the next 18 months.
A joint venture between BMW, Daimler, Ford and Volkswagen Group, Ionity currently has 71 EV charging sites in 10 countries and has ambitious plans to get to 400 sites by the end of 2020.
Speaking ahead of the opening of the business's first UK site, on the M20 near Maidstone, next month, Ionity spokesman Paul Enwistle said each charger would deliver a potential charge of 350kWh - enough to fill an EV in just 15 minutes if it can accept the capacity, or 25-30 minutes if it can only accommodate a lower capacity.
One average, each station will have six chargers. They will be position on motorways and major roads, forming one-third of Ford’s EV charging strategy.
Enwistle said: “We will open our second site in Gretna (A74M) and our third and fourth sites are likely to be Thurrock (M25, Essex) and Milton Keynes (M1).”
In addition to the Ionity motorway-based network, Ford will offer EV customers a mobile app that gives the access to a European network of more than 100,000 chargers. It is also designing its own smart wallbox chargers for domestic use.
Ford’s Mark McMahon said: “From a customer point of view, with an ICE (internal combustion engine) vehicle you don’t think about fuel. We want it to be the same for EV customers.”
The app and the wallbox data will link into the Transportation Mobility Cloud to provide customers with information about when best to charge their cars based on up-coming journeys.
“There will be more interaction so FordPass (Ford’s connected app) can link it to be an encompassing ecosystem,” McMahon said. “Where someone is using a lot of energy, this will teach and help them to be more economical if that’s what they want to achieve.”
By Stephen Briers