Ionity has now reached its target of 400 charging parks in Europe, originally planned for the end of 2020, with a delay of around a year. According to Ionity’s website, 401 sites are now in operation.
The fast-charging joint venture launched its first German HPC site at the Brohltal Ost service area on the A61 motorway in Rhineland-Palatinate in April 2018. In the same year, Ionity CEO Michael Hajesch promised the aforementioned 400 charging parks by the end of 2020.
In summer 2019, the company reached the mark of 100 charging parks in Europe. Even then, it was necessary to open a new charging park every second day in order to reach the target by the end of 2020. In an interview with our German colleagues at electrive.net, in 2019, Hajesch nevertheless described the target as achievable. “If we keep up the pace of the past months, we will reach our goal next year,” Hajesch said at the time. To date, the company has been mainly busy with “frontloading”, i.e. the invisible work in the background, which accounts for around 85 per cent of the work. Only after this is completed will the excavators start rolling.
Contributing to the delay have been not only lengthy approval processes and site acquisitions but also the Corona pandemic with its subsequent contact restrictions and the semiconductor crisis.
The 400 charging parks were only the announced first phase of expansion. At the end of November, the second phase was announced until the end of 2025: Then the network is to be expanded to 1,000 locations with a total of 7,000 charging points. These will include not only charging parks at existing service stations and car parks, but also fast-charging hubs on the company’s own properties. In addition, Ionity charging parks will no longer be built only on motorways, but also near major cities and along busy trunk roads.
For the second phase, the company has secured a 700-million-euro investment from its current shareholders and new partner Blackrock. It is not yet clear how much of this will be contributed by existing shareholders Audi, BMW, Ford, Hyundai-Kia, Mercedes-Benz and Porsche, or what amount Blackrock will invest as the first investor outside the car industry. In October, there were reports that Blackrock wanted to invest 500 million euros.
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