BMW, Daimler, Ford, Volkswagen, Audi and Porsche have signed a ‘memorandum of understanding’ in a joint venture to create the highest-powered charging network in Europe.

The scheme is expected to begin in 2017 with 400 European sites, with the eventual goal of enabling long-distance travel by EVs along the continent’s motorways.

The vehicle manufacturers expect the development of the ultra-fast charging system to encourage mass-market adoption of EVs.

The network will run on direct current, and will use combined charging system (CCS) standard technology to enable fast-charging with power levels of up to 350 kilowatts.

By 2020, the group expects there to be thousands of high-powered charging points, and aims to make charging more convenient and less time-consuming.

Harald Krüger, chairman of the board of management of BMW AG, said: “This high-power charging network provides motorists with another strong argument to move towards electric mobility.

“The joint project is another major milestone clearly demonstrating that competitors are combining forces to ramp-up e-mobility.”