VW Putting Chargers in Factory Parking Lots
If you want people to drive electric vehicles, you have to make availability of recharging convenient
Volkswagen Group is certainly going all-in on electric vehicles, or as Thomas Ulbrich, Member of the Volkswagen Brand Board of Management Responsible for E-Mobility, calls it, “our global electric offensive.” The group plans to launch approximately 70 new electric models during the next 10 years. And the ID.3 model, which is going to have its public introduction at the International Motor Show in Frankfurt next month, is being considered by VW as the contemporary version of the Beetle, the “peoples’ car” as electric car.
One issue facing the proliferation of these vehicles will be the convenient means by which they can be recharged. After all, while there are gas stations seemingly everywhere in urban areas and sufficiently metered out across the landscape such that the only one who is likely to run out of gas is someone who has ignored the information of the fuel gauge, EV chargers aren’t exactly common.
So VW is in the process of installing some 4,000 charging points at its German facilities, with that number expected to be reached, not coincidentally, in 2025.
And not surprisingly, the first factory with the new charging stations is the Volkswagen Components operation in Braunschweig, which is key to the production of EVs as it is responsible for the battery housing, the front and rear axles, brakes, and steering unit.
There are 60 charging points that have a 11-kW power level and which use a Type 2 plug (the European standard). And to further underline its work toward a better environmental footprint, the power is sourced from Volkswagen Naturstrom, which is certified to generate power from 100% CO2 free sources, such as wind and hydropower.
VW is spending approximately €250 million in expanding the charging infrastructure at its European sites. When the facilities at dealerships are added in, there will be 36,000 charging stations in Europe.
Unlike in the U.S., garages aren’t something in great numbers in places like Germany. That probably leads to VW’s calculation that as much as 20% of EV charging could take place at one’s workplace, which means the availability of charging stations will be more important if the number of EVs grows—as it hopes.
Not only is VW building charging stations on its own sites, but it has established a subsidiary, Elli (coined from “Electric Life”) that will help other companies build out charging infrastructure in their own parking lots.
It has a lot riding on this electric transformation coming to life.
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