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(Pocket-lint) - Ford has announced a joint venture with BMW Group, Volkswagen Group and Daimler AG that will bring a new charging network for electric vehicles to Europe.

The venture, called Ionity, will develop and install a high-power charging network (HPC) along some of the busiest routes in the continent. The group plans to have 400 stations installed by 2020, with 20 of them being opened this year along routes in Germany, Norway and Austria. 100 stations should be active by the end of 2018.

There's currently no word on when the UK will get charging stations, but we expect it to feature in future plans.

Charging stations will be positioned 120km apart from each other to help promote long-distance travel across Europe and with many battery-powered electric vehicles having ranges of around 300 miles, the short distances between stations should make it a reality.

The charging points themselves will be able to accommodate a range of makes and models and will offer up to 350kW charging for cars that support it. Porsche has said its Mission E electric vehicle for example will, and will be able to recharge the battery to 80 per cent in just 15 minutes. For cars that don't support high-speed charging, the HPC charging points will be backwards compatible so everyone can use them.

For many consumers, electric vehicles don't seem such a viable alternative to combustion engines, purely because of the lack of infrastructure to keep the battery topped up. With Ionity, that looks all set to change and it will likely be a catalyst for the adoption of electric cars. With Volvo going completely electric from 2019 and the UK government wanting to ban all new petrol and diesel car sales from 2040, we'll soon have no choice but to go electric. 

Writing by Max Langridge.