automobile charging station:roll out pan-European network
Today’s first generation of electric cars have a range of about 100 - 150 km and a battery of ~20kWh. The next generation of EVs is expected to have larger battery packs of around 60 kWh and 300 km of range. Paired with next generation faster charging, long distance travel becomes viable. We expect charging speeds to go up from 50kW today to about 150kW in 2017 - 2018. Faster charging is the only way to minimise stopovers during long distance trips.
Larger battery packs and faster charging go hand in hand. Nissan and Mitsubishi were the first to introduce fast charging, thereby lowering charging times from 8 hours to just 30 minutes. They achieved this by charging at 50kW (250 km/h). In 2013, Tesla went further with the introduction of the 85 kWh Tesla Model S. Because of the larger battery, Tesla needed faster chargers and introduced supercharging at 120kW (600 km/h). The success of the Model S and the announcement of other high-end electric vehicles has set off a race for faster charging.
With third generation technology, I expect to see an increase in luxury cars with much more range and the introduction of full- electric cars in the low end segment. This is the moment when electric cars will become available to the masses.
Battery developments in the next five years
The drivers of these next generation electric vehicles will want to drive across Europe. The whole point of owning a car is to be able to go anywhere. Electric cars will only be a success in Europe, when they can recharge at a convenient European network of fast charging stations with sufficiently high speed. When you buy a next generation all-electric Nissan, Volkswagen, Tesla, BMW or Audi you want to be able to drive it carefree across the continent, without any detours.
The experience we gained by building stations in The Netherlands (as described in phase I) can now be used to quickly roll out a network in Europe. We know how to select the right locations, acquire (local) permits, and get our stations up and running. This experience allows us to scale fast. Standardised Fastned stations can be copied and pasted in other European countries. And the larger the network, the more scale advantages we can achieve.