BMW Group, Daimler AG, Ford Motor Company, and the Volkswagen Group today announced that they were teaming up for a new initiative called Ionity that will develop and implement a High-Power Charging (HPC) network for electric vehicles across Europe by establishing 400 charging stations by 2020.

Based in Munich, Germany, the effort is led by Chief Executive Officer Michael Hajesch and Chief Operating Officer Marcus Groll, with a team of 50 people set to be in place by the start of 2018. Each of the founding partners owns an equal share in the business, and other manufacturers have also been invited to join the scheme.

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'The first pan-European HPC network plays an essential role in establishing a market for electric vehicles. Ionity will deliver our common goal of providing customers with fast charging and digital payment capability, to facilitate long-distance travel,' said Hajesch.

The first 20 stations, located on major roads in Germany, Norway and Austria, be open by the end of the year. These initial outlets will be in partnership with retailers such as Tank & Rast, Circle K, and OMV. The network of charging stations will then expand to around a hundred locations by next year.

Each station will have a capacity of up to 350kW per charging point and will use the European charging standard Combined Charging System to significantly reduce charging times compared to existing systems. It is hoped that the synergy between different brands with the system will make electric cars more appealing to consumers who are worried about chargine and range implications.

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Gallery: Electric car charging