VW Teams up with BP on Thousands of EV Chargers
Volkswagen Group has kicked off a partnership with British Petroleum that will see up to 4000 EV fast chargers installed on their home continent. The two industry giants plan to introduce Flexpole 150-kW chargers, which feature a battery storage system and two charge points each, at BP stations in the UK and at Aral stations in Germany.
The chargers are designed to be connected to a low-voltage grid, which eliminates the need for a dedicated substation as well as pricey construction—one of the main obstacles to the spread of charging stations worldwide—while allowing for faster installation.
The two companies plan to roll out this new network of Flexpole chargers at fuel stations in the next 24 months, representing one of the more ambitious infrastructure efforts in Europe, promising up to 8000 new charge points by the end of 2024.
“As we promised at our Power Day, we are driving the expansion of charging infrastructure in Europe at high speed,” said Thomas Schmall, member of the Board of Management of Volkswagen Group and CEO of Volkswagen Group Components. “Together with BP, we will bring thousands of fast-charging stations to life within a very short time. Rapid expansion of the charging network is crucial now. To make that happen, our pioneering flexible, fast chargers offer a perfect solution, since the time and costs required for installation are minimal.”
The main innovations seen in this plan include the wide-scale introduction of EV chargers at existing gas stations—a rarity on either side of the Atlantic at the moment—as well as a fast-charger design intended to not rely on a special substation. Volkswagen and a number of station developers have been working on EV chargers that do not need a new grid connection, as opposed to an existing one, but are still able to offer 150-kW charging speeds while dramatically lowering installation costs for local owners.
The Wolfsburg automaker plans to integrate the chargers into the navigation systems of its EVs, spanning several brands, as well as its Elli charging app, making them easy to find.
“Investing in everything from software to batteries and charging is part of our strategy to make individual mobility safer, more convenient and fully climate-neutral,” said VW CEO Herbert Diess. “The decarbonization of Europe’s economy requires close collaboration across borders and sectors. We’re pleased to team up with BP to accelerate the rollout of the fast-charging network across Europe.”
For now Volkswagen and BP’s plan is confined to Europe, but it’s difficult to overlook the fact that gas stations in the US rarely offer EV fast-charging options, with off-grid and existing-grid-connection chargers being equally rare.
The availability of fast-charging options at existing gas stations is viewed as one of the major stepping stones to greater EV adoption in the states and elsewhere, as annual EV sales rates stateside remain below 5%.
Source: Read Full Article