The energy company Repsol has opened what it says is the most powerful electric-vehicle charging station in Europe—and it happens to be in Spain, a part of Europe that’s so far been largely skipped over by the fastest charging. 

Higher-power DC fast charging is what makes electric-vehicle road-tripping viable. And while 100- and 150-kw stations may charge vehicles with smaller batteries quickly enough, performance and luxury EVs are going to need higher-power charging.

That’s where new “ultra-fast” 350-kw stations come into play, led in Europe by the Ionity network, which is the equivalent of our Electrify America. Ionity is aiming to build 400 350-kw stations in Europe by the end of 2020 and already had more than 100 up and running by the middle of this year. 

Those latest Ionity stations only go up to 350 kw. And while charging a big luxury EV’s battery to 80 percent in as little as 10 or 15 minutes sounds quick, some automakers already see an even higher-power future. For instance, Joachim Kramer, Porsche’s director for electrics and electronics in the Taycan, explained last month that while the carmaker is limiting Taycan charging to 270 kw, it may allow 400 or even 500 kw of charging power with larger, next-generation batteries. 

The 400-kw station has been installed by Ibil, a charging network that is jointly owned by Repsol and the Basque Energy Board (EVE). It’s only the second ultra-fast DC fast charging station to be opened in Spain, located on the A8 motorway at the Ugaldebieta service station, near Bilbao, and has four 400-kw DC CCS fast-charge points. 

All equipment at the facility has been sourced within Spain, and the stations integrate solar panels and energy storage to either reduce or eliminate emissions. 

Ibil has a network that includes more than 1,700 charge points, of which 230 are publicly accessible