The UK may be leaving the European Union, but it remains very much part of IONITY’s plans to build a high power charging network for electric vehicles along Europe’s major highways.
Michael Hajesch is IONITY’s CEO and he has recently been in the UK to attend the MOVE mobility event in London. His company is a joint venture of BMW Group, Daimler AG, Ford Motor Company and the Volkswagen Group with Audi and Porsche. It was founded in 2017 and its plans are to build four hundred EV charging stations by 2020.
Hajesch told Auto Futures that the roll-out is roughly on track. “We are live with more than fifty stations in eight countries across Europe. In parallel there are more than forty sites under construction.”
The UK is now in IONITY’s sights. “The UK is a portion of the network as well. The same focus, like we have in the rest of Europe. Trunk roads, highway locations. We will ramp up a network of about forty to fifty stations,” says Hajesch who was previously a senior manager at BMW.
He adds: “We actually are going with two main partnerships, which are MFG (Motor Fuel Group) and Shell. We will see shortly the first stations coming up in the UK. Two are already visible on our map… two more to follow very soon. That’s the beginning in the UK market for us.”
As for Brexit, Hajesch says it’s business as usual for IONITY. “As nobody, I think, can predict the outcome of it and we all believe that hopefully it’s not going to give us too much stress at the end. We are just continuing. We have a mission to accomplish the 400 (charging station) network in the UK. And it’s a good message for us that we’re continuing ramping up and installing here in the UK.”
Hajesch says the growth of the EV market in the UK and in certain parts of Europe has been held back because of the charging infrastructure.
“The target, first of all, is to increase the availability of the chargers. That is the reason why we set up not only one charger per station. We’re talking about four to six or even more chargers depending on the location.”
He say IONITY’s charging experience will be more or less the same in every country across Europe, whatever the language. But what about the future of EV charging cross Europe?
“Availability for end customers will extraordinarily increase on all different use cases, which is good for accepting the new mobility patterns for EVs. We will have a lot of range choices for the vehicles.”
Expect IONITY to play a major role in this roll-out.