Infrastructure is still a major issue preventing widespread adoption of electric vehicles, but a number of automakers hope to solve that problem by banding together in Europe.
Ionity is the name for the group of automakers attempting to link Europe with a network of high-speed EV chargers. BMW, Ford, Daimler and Volkswagen Group are all putting time and money into Ionity, because without a network, there won't be anywhere to charge the billion or so EVs these companies plan on debuting over the next two decades.
The goal is to get 400 fast-charging stations on "major European thoroughfares" by 2020. The group has already broken ground on an initial run of 20 stations in Germany, Norway and Austria, with the intention of getting 50 established by the start of 2018. That number will expand to about 100 by the end of 2018, and it'll just keep growing from there.
Ionity's network won't be some namby-pamby group of trickle chargers offering barely any range. These chargers will be capable of providing up to 350 kW per charging point, or nearly three times the power of Tesla's current batch of Superchargers. There aren't any vehicles that can take advantage of this charging speed yet, but Ionity's members are working to fix that.
As mentioned earlier, the whole point of this exercise isn't to burn through cash for funsies. Each automaker involved in Ionity intends on releasing long-range EVs within the next few years, and adding this network of chargers will only grow the appeal of going electric.
While four automakers all have equal shares in Ionity, the group has left the doors open for any other automaker that wants to get in on the action. The more OEMs participating, the more money can be spent on the venture, which in turn only makes the network better and more appealing for consumers.