Op-Ed: Volkswagen’s Real “Goodwill” Gesture Should Be Proliferation Of CCS Fast Charging Network

2 years ago by Michael Parker 42

Combined Charging System (CCS aka Combo) – One System for All

Combined Charging System (CCS aka Combo) – One System for All

Recently, Volkswagen announced its ‘Goodwill’ program, wherein the automaker is offering $1,000 and three years of roadside assistance to customers who own/lease the dirty diesel cars.

Without taking into consideration the actual ramifications of accepting such a deal (see this LA Times article for information about Clause 11 that limits arbitration), I think this completely misses the mark of what VW needs to do.

Volkswagen "Goodwill" Offer

Volkswagen “Goodwill” Offer

Sure, money is swell. And for those that have suffered loss of resale value and eventual loss of performance/MPGs, compensation is certainly due. But the heart of the whole Diesel Scandal is that VW intentionally shipped cars that were spewing pollutants at levels much higher than advertised.

Pollutants affect us all – and VW needs to show some goodwill to the whole world if they want to gain new customers (or regain lost customers). Money won’t do it there.

*Editor’s Note: This post appears on Michael’s Kinja page. Check it out here.

VW needs a grand gesture that shows they are committed to a cleaner tomorrow for one and all. And what’s cleaner than even the cleanest diesel? Electric, that’s what. VW’s own eGolf is a great start. But, as Battery Electric Vehicles (BEVs) slowly creep into the mainstream, the supporting infrastructure to quickly charge those cars needs to keep pace.

e-Golf & i3 At CCS Fast Charger

e-Golf & i3 At CCS Fast Charger

Three 24kW DCFC units have been up and running at BMW Headquarters in Woodcliff Lake, NJ since January. They are open to the public and free to use.

Three 24kW DCFC units have been up and running at BMW Headquarters in Woodcliff Lake, NJ since January. They are open to the public and free to use.

As of today, we have three different standards for DC Fast Charging;

  • Supercharger – Tesla’s proprietary fast charger, for use by only Tesla cars.
  • CHAdeMO – The most common protocol in service today, used mostly by Japanese/Asian BEVs (Nissan Leaf, Mistubishi i-MiEV, etc).
  • SAE Combo (CCS) – Used by European BEVs like VW, BMW and U.S. BEVs, including Chevy Spark, upcoming Bolt, etc.

Here’s a real goodwill gesture for Volkswagen…

CCS is basically the bastard child of DC Fast Charging standards right now. The infrastructure in the US that exists for these stations is minuscule compared to CHAdeMO and Tesla. Since the Japanese got to market first, CHAdeMO has seen significantly more support.

Which brings me to my point. VW should subsidize a robust CCS DC Fast Charging network in the U.S. (and heck, Europe too). This would be a signal to the world that VW is serious about lowering emissions, and at the same time, could help VW sell current/future BEV offerings.

Maybe even offer free Fast Charging for a year to eGolf owners, like BMW did for the i3 and Nissan does for the LEAF in select markets. It’s a win/win for everyone.

BEVs are the future. Whether you like it or not, they are. And wouldn’t it be great if while rebuilding their reputation, VW could actually do something amazing for the future?

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42 responses to "Op-Ed: Volkswagen’s Real “Goodwill” Gesture Should Be Proliferation Of CCS Fast Charging Network"

  1. David says:

    Nissan has heavily subsidized CHAdeMO. They’ve put their money where their mouth is.

    Not a single car maker who supposedly supports CCS has done anything to help deploy chargers. GM in particular seemed to sign on to CCS more to introduce FUD to stall CHAdeMO deployment without lifting a finger to deploy their own.

    But its premature for VW to deploy CCS if they don’t even sell a car nationwide that supports it. In fact, VW does not sell any electric vehicle nationwide.

    That would be step one.

    If they were serious they could announce nationwide availability of the eGolf. They deploy CCS to all VW dealerships and provide free charging to anyone at those dealerships.

    That would make them serious. Otherwise, its just empty talk and compliance vehicle.

    1. 3laine says:

      “Not a single car maker who supposedly supports CCS has done anything help deploy chargers.”

      Huh? Just yesterday there was a post here about a BMW DCFC that was partially subsidized by BMW and VW. In addition to that, I’ve charged at a BMW DCFC in Florida that was put in by BMW. You might say they haven’t done ENOUGH, but you can’t correctly say that BMW “hasn’t done anything.” They are subsidizing CCS corridors on both coasts as we speak.

    2. No region has a “CCS DC Fast Charging network”. So far, CCS has be deployed as an alternative connector type at locations at a limited number of DC charging stations. Just like there are not diesel specific fueling stations there should not be CCS specific cDC charging points.

      If VW were to support DC charging, they need to coordinate their efforts with partners actively deploying DC charging locations that have a strategy of building regional networks.

      1. an_outsider says:

        In Quebec, all our 50kW DCFCs are dual standard (CHAdeMO & CCS combo) but the e-Golf is not available for sale in Canada…

        1. mememe says:

          These DCFCs are all installed by Quebec government, not supported by BWM, VW nor any CCS “supporter”

        2. martinwinlow says:

          Dual-headers get my vote! MW

  2. pk says:

    How about goodwill for those affected by the years of effing pollution these cars have been spewing?

    1. pjwood1 says:

      Greenpeace is on that. Anyone remembering the kid Darth Vader (Superbowl?) commercial will enjoy this one:

  3. ffbj says:

    The powers that be over at VW have inhaled too many diesel fumes to think this will fly. If anything its an insult to their customers and dealers.

    Yes, a grand gesture such as the one described in the above article would be nice, but I doubt that we will see anything remotely like it in consideration of the fortress mentality and backward thinking that VW exhibits.

    1. ffbj says:

      For all those that are constantly harping on Tesla’s money problems, they would have done much better to short VW, but I have not seen one negative comment on them from, the gang of four or so, who continue to rant against Tesla.
      Well, what say you on VW? Recently downgraded by Fitch and many others, and with rates rising, there is even some question, in my mind, whether VW can weather this storm.

      1. sven says:

        The gang of four?

        1. ffbj says:

          Just an expression! Like it?

      2. Trollnonymous says:

        I don’t think anyone thought that downgrade wouldn’t happen. If they did make that statement they would’ve been called Captain Obvious……lol

        1. ffbj says:

          True, since they were they already downgraded by other rating agencies. I wouldn’t lend them a dime.

      3. Three Electrics says:

        I think there’s consensus that VW is the worse company, by far. While Tesla makes their own mistakes, they are mild in comparison. They are trying to change the world for the better, and VW appears to have done the opposite in the name of greed. While most of the compensation should go to affected diesel owners, a CCS network would be a good start.

  4. Jay says:

    Indeed, CCS is a bastard, so no surprise that it’s not getting any love from its parents. However, I would support requirements that any publicly funded EVSE support both standards. (And employ load-sharing to enable usage of both at once.)

  5. blandman says:

    I’d prefer a rapid increase in battery capacity to make the charging network point moot.

    1. Brian says:

      To truly make it moot, you’d have to raise battery capacity to an absurd level. The cars would have to travel much FARTHER than ICEVs, even during the worst conditions (say, a bitter cold blizzard). No, quick charging will always be necessary for the road warriors. We need both bigger batteries AND a robust quick charge network to get the majority of drivers to switch.

    2. SparkEV says:

      Farthest I’ve driven my gas car was bit over 2000 miles. Without charging stations, you need 2000 miles range EV.

      With enough charging stations, one can take even 65 miles range per charge EV to 2000 miles. Faster the charging, quicker the trip.

      You wouldn’t do this with L2, but leisurely 7 day, 2000 miles road trip is possible with DCFC.

  6. Rick says:

    Great if you’re an EV owner, but it doesn’t do anything for the VW diesel buyer, who is the subject of the “goodwill” gesture. It really isn’t about EVs.

    1. pjwood1 says:

      Tesla’s ~150mm book value charging network, against a 482mm VW “goodwill” program. Just a thin slice of the total global liability, which has a while to go before it eclipses the >4 billion they saved, by not installing $400 urea systems on 10+ million cars.

      Will they wear us out?

  7. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

    They’re labeling 15 minute charging “ultra fast”? What will they call it when we get 5-10 minute charging? Super-duper-fast? Warp-speed-fast? Gee-whiz-it’s-so-fast-we-can’t-believe-it-fast?

    The term “ultra-fast” should be reserved for charging in 10 minutes or less. If they want a term for “faster than current charging, but not ultra-fast” then perhaps “super-fast” would be appropriate.

    1. Doug (dhanson865) says:

      @Pushmi-Pullyu

      I agree ultra is a misnomer.

      The CCS connector shown will do 106KW which is slower than the 120KW of a Tesla Supercharger.

      I think CCS would have to get to half again faster than Tesla’s fastest supercharger rate to deserve using “ultra”.

      It’s a moving target as Tesla went from 90KW to 120KW already and will likely go to 135KW or 150KW sometime in the next year or two.

      1. perlybird says:

        CCS can do more than 100 kW:
        http://www.charinev.org/ccs-at-a-glance/what-is-the-ccs/

        Just an example: according to the last knowned specs, the Audi R8 e-tron will be able to charge with CCS 150 kW.

    2. Ambulator says:

      In radio terms they go high frequency, very hf, ultra hf, super hf, extremely hf and tremendously high frequency. I suppose since we never had ultracharging before supercharging this won’t be followed.

      1. SparkEV says:

        In video, there’s 480i/p 720p … 2K, 4K, 8K. Why not follow that?

        50KC = 50kW Chademo
        50KD = 50kW CCS
        120KS = 12kW Supercharger

        Why D for CCS (combined charging system)? Chademo and Supercharger came first, so they take C and S. Letter after C is D.

  8. rage says:

    So VW is saying we want to stop polluting the Earth, but come to one of our dealers with your polluting vehicles so we can confirm that you own one? It doesn’t matter if the nearest dealer could be 50 or 100 miles away, keep polluting to get to us.

  9. Tech01x says:

    No, just no.

    Proliferation of L2 charging which means J1772 in the U.S. at 40 or more amps? Yes, please.

    Proliferation of < 200 amp CCS in the U.S.? No. Just no. It isn't the right standard.

    Fast track approval of a CCS standard that goes to 400 amps for true SAE Level 3 DC charging? Yes please. This has to happen at some point and would probably naturally happen around 2018/2019, but VW can put their considerable political clout into making this happen in 2016 instead. Then instead of putting in waste of money CCS Combo Plug 1 standard EVSEs, they can put in the real DC fast charging standard for the next decade.

    1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

      Thanks, I was just gonna post much the same thing.

      If we EV enthusiasts want VW (or anyone else) to actually do something significant in the way of installing fast EV chargers, then what we should be advocating is the creation of a new type of fast charger which will be needed for the coming nominally 200 mile EVs. And not just more of the same “fast” chargers we already have, which — aside from Tesla Superchargers — will soon be obsolete.

  10. SJC says:

    Sell eGolf at a discount and install LOTS of quick chargers. That might bring their image back around.

    1. Anon says:

      Won’t happen. They’re already leaking money, like the Titanic.

      1. Mister G says:

        German government will bail out VW if needed. VW needs to produce a 200 mile BEV for the price of $30,000 before tax credit, even if VW loses $50,000 per vehicle…that’s the price they must pay for cheating and polluting.

  11. SparkEV says:

    I don’t know if VW itself is a good candidate for this. As others have pointed out, you can’t just do about face without, well, losing face. Not sure what the best course of action would be, although I agree that more CCS would be a good thing, and some contribution from VW would be welcome.

    But one very important thing to remember in case VW feels too guilty:

    NO FREE CHARGING!!!

  12. mememe says:

    As a goodwill, what about developing a CHAdeMO to CCS adapter ; or sell CHAdeMO version of eGolf? These instantly improve EV drivers’ ability to get DCFC.

    1. Djoni says:

      That will work!

    2. FitEV_Owner says:

      I love this idea. If VW used their considerable clout and market power to develop and sell a low cost CCS to Chademo adapter, that would be be the equivalent of building out the CCS network, at much lower cost to VW. Plus they would make some money back by selling it to other EV owners whose cars use CCS. I would pay a couple hundred bucks for such a device.

  13. Ct200h says:

    Not sure any one company can or will build out CCS to where it needs to be , on the east coast of the USA CCS is nearly impossible to find , chademo on the other hand is respectable.
    Any bev that uses the ccs standard is a no go on the east coast and much of the USA. It’s chademo, tesla, or it better be a phev. I feel sorry for anyone depending on this weak CCS support. Chevy listen up , bolt looks great but it’s DOA for anyone in the know.

    1. PF says:

      To make you feel better, West coast is the same….outside of California, CCS is almost non-existent.

    2. mr. M says:

      I see it the other way round, the rise of the Bolt will be the rise of the CCS-Charger network.

      Remember that the first model ‘S got sold without a supercharger infrastructure. The charger will rise if there is demand, and even without a fast charger the bolt will work for many. That is the difference between 80 and 200 miles BEV.

  14. martinwinlow says:

    An excellant idea! MW

  15. Mister G says:

    Hey VW.. How about 200 mile BEV sedan for $30,000 to make good for your deception and pollution.

  16. Bill Howland says:

    They can buy chargers if they like, but First things first. The owners were lied to.

    The owners should be compensated at least a few thousand bucks. So much for ‘clean diesels’