For years, Tesla was poking a sleeping giant. That giant has just woken up.
As of November 18, 2016, there were 264 Tesla supercharging stations throughout Europe, a fair number for an automaker that’s going above and beyond to single-handedly change the expectations of what an electric car manufacturer should deliver. As impressive as the feat is, Tesla can only do a fraction of what an auto giant can do when it takes initiative. Unfortunately for Tesla that’s exactly what’s happened, but it’s more than just one automaker, it’s four of the largest auto giants in existence.
That’s because Daimler, BMW, Ford, and the Volkswagen Group have joined forces to electrify Europe by installing hundreds of fast charging stations. The network of DC chargers would enable owners of electric vehicles to take a road trip across Europe without range anxiety thanks to strategically placed charging stations. These would be unconventionally fast, using high kilowatt ratings to rapidly push juice into batteries. The proposed network would feature a capacity of 350 kW, blowing past the 145 kW currently offered by Tesla's supercharger network. This would likely allow for charging times that put Tesla’s superchargers to shame, although new vehicles would need to be designed for such a high capacity.
The plan details the construction of 400 charging stations that, if finished quickly enough, will put Tesla behind the competition, which is already approaching fast in its rear view mirror. Chargers would be based off of the Combined Charging System technology developed by the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) and already in use in electric Volkswagen, Ford, and BMW models. Construction is slated to begin in 2017 and by 2020, these automakers hope that the addition of thousands of charge ports will help European customers on the fence about electric vehicles to finally buy one. It isn’t mentioned if these charging stations will cost money to use, but we can assume so.
With plans for Europe taken care of, North America and Asia are the two regions we can expect these partners to focus on next. The main benefit of the expansion plan is to help usher in the era of the electric car and the fact that these massive auto giants have managed to agree on a standardized charging method shows how seriously each company is taking it. Maybe Porsche really will sell 20,000 Mission Es now that Europeans can take it on a road trip.