LONG distance emission free driving across the Continent has moved a step closer with a collaboration of some of Europe's biggest automotive hitters.
BMW, Ford and the Volkswagen Group have announced a joint venture to install hundreds of fast charging points for electric vehicles across Europe.
The companies involved also include Audi and Porsche and Daimler, which makes Mercedes-Benz vehicles.
They plan to create a network of 400 ultra-fast charging sites powerful enough to significantly reduce current charging times.
At the moment, most battery powered electric vehicles have a real-world range of only around 100 miles.
The fast chargers will allow EVs to partly replenish their batteries in less than half an hour and with more plug-in hybrids arriving on the market will make pan-European electric motoring possible.
The car companies have signed a memorandum of understanding to create the highest-powered charging network in Europe which will open the doors for more battery-electric vehicles to be marketed.
The build-up is planned to start in 2017 and an initial target of about 400 sites is planned.
By 2020 EV drivers should have access to thousands of high-powered charging points.
"This high-power charging network provides motorists with another strong argument to move towards electric mobility," said Harald Kruger, chairman of the board of management of BMW.
"The BMW Group has initiated numerous public charging infrastructure projects over the last years. The joint project is another major milestone clearly demonstrating that competitors are combining forces to ramp-up e-mobility."
And Daimler boss Dr Dieter Zetsche added: "The breakthrough of e-mobility requires two things: convincing vehicles and a comprehensive charging infrastructure.
"With our new brand EQ, we are launching our electric product offensive: by 2025, our portfolio will include more than ten fully electric passenger cars. Together with our partners, we are now installing the highest-powered charging infrastructure in Europe.
"The availability of high-power stations allows long-distance e-mobility for the first time and will convince more and more customers to opt for an electric vehicle."
Under the arrangement, which has still to be formalised, the car companies intend to make substantial investments.
While the founding partners - BMW, Daimler, Ford and Volkswagen Group - will be equal partners in the joint venture, other automobile manufacturers will be encouraged to sign up.