The electric vehicle news out of Germany this week is that both Porsche and Mercedes Benz are pushing forward with plans to bring more EVs to market. The revolution created by Elon Musk and Tesla is continuing. The Porsche news relates to passenger cars and the Mercedes announcement pertains to delivery trucks.
Porsche To Double EV Investment
Following a recent meeting of its board of directors, Porsche announced that it is doubling its investment in electromobility to €6 billion. It had previously committed £3 billion to developing the company’s first all electric vehicle, the Mission E. With that process well along — the first cars are expected in showrooms next year — Porsche says it will now commit an additional €3 billion to its electric vehicle program.
According to a press release, €500 million will be put toward “development of Mission E variants and derivatives.” That suggests the company will seek to spread the costs of developing the Mission E across more models to lower its per unit cost per vehicle. The company will also invest another €1 billion “for electrification and hybridization of the existing product range.” All good news, so far.
Here’s the real news that EV proponents will celebrate most. €700 million will go toward “new technologies, charging infrastructure and smart mobility.” The company says, “Porsche, along with Audi, is representing the Volkswagen Group in Ionity, a joint venture with the BMW Group, Daimler AG and Ford Motor Company. The goal of this venture is to construct and operate 400 powerful rapid charging stations along the major European traffic routes by 2020. Construction began back in 2017. To complement the work of Ionity, the Porsche dealer network is becoming part of a nationwide rapid charging infrastructure.”
Ionity is a big deal, folks, because it is perhaps the first serious challenge to the Tesla Supercharger network. All of the 400 Ionity chargers are expected to be operational by 2020. They will use the CCS standard and be capable of up to 350 kW of power. Elon Musk has indicated his chargers will blow by that number in the future, but the Ionity chargers will be able to provide an 80% charge in about 15 minutes. That’s the point at which charging time will cease to be an issue, removing one more barrier to mass adoption of electric cars. Royal Dutch Shell has also signed on to the Ionity program.
Mercedes To Electrify Sprinter Van
The Mercedes Sprinter van is to Europe what the Ford Transit is to America — a ubiquitous box on wheels used to deliver goods and services mostly in urban areas. Now Mercedes says it will have an all electric version of the Sprinter available in Europe by next year. Prices and technical details have not yet been released, but manufacturers typically offer these types of vehicles in many different configurations. According to Engadget, Mercedes will most likely use a modular battery system that will allow it to tailor range and pricing to meet the varying needs of its customers.
The company claims the cost of operation will be similar to that of a conventional van, but the electric vans will help reduce air pollution in cities, especially in Europe where most vehicles of this type are powered by diesel engines. For cities like London that levy a “congestion charge” on high pollution vehicles, the electric Sprinter could save both large and small fleet operators a significant amount of money by avoiding such fees. There is no word on when or if the electric Sprinter will be available in the US market.
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