ChargePoint: VW’s $2 Billion Settlement Into EV Infrastructure To “Drown Out” Industry

OCT 15 2016 BY MARK KANE 72

Volkswagen e-Golf & BMW i3 at ChargePoint DC Fast charger

Volkswagen e-Golf & BMW i3 at ChargePoint DC Fast charger

A settlement between the U.S. government and Volkswagen, concerning emissions-cheating, is worth $14.7 billion, out of which $2.0 billion was set for initiatives to promote the use of zero emissions vehicles in the U.S.

Most of that $2 billion is to be spend over the next 10 years on the electric vehicle public charging infrastructure, which means more and better charging stations, potentially for zero cost to the US consumer.

Volkswagen e-Golf Touch

Volkswagen e-Golf Touch

However not all are happy from such a settlement; as it is hard to compete with “free” money.

The most dissatisfied with the settlement particulars is the charging industry, which still struggles today to make any profits, and is now afraid of being flooded with a large-scale infrastructure projects from Volkswagen that cannot be matched.

ChargePoint said in a court filing Tuesday that it is looking for the deal to be amended:

The settlement will “literally to drown out all other participants in the ZEV infrastructure market through enormous spending, made at its unfettered discretion, that is untethered to the normal constraints and financial metrics by which all other market participants must operate.

While adding that letting VW “flood a competitive market with $2 billion in goods threatens the survival of the current participants in that market.”

As it stands, Volkswagen will need only to spend the money in the most effect manner to achieve the goals of advancing the tech, while other companies in the business actually need to look for viable business models.  In other words, VW will give people more of what they want – for less…or nothing.  

This is basically the $100 million eVgo settlement in California from 2012 to install a fast charging and public L2 infrastructure all over again – but on a much larger scale.

ChargePoint, which operates largest charging network with over 30,000 stations is very critical on the settlement, and seeks help in court. The next episode of this story will take place at a hearing on Oct. 18.

The Wall Street Journal reported on the upcoming action:

“In a request to intervene in the court proceedings, ChargePoint said the zero-emissions requirement could drive out all competition in the market for electric vehicle infrastructure, which it said is expected to generate around $800 million from 2017 through mid-2019.

Companies “will be unable to afford to invest in new charging products or services when the dominant player in that market makes such investments with ‘penalty’ dollars and, as such, is untethered to the normal constraints and financial metrics by which all other market participants must operate,” the company said in a filing made in U.S. District Court in San Francisco.”

“The federal judge overseeing the litigation is scheduled to consider giving final approval to the settlement at a hearing on Oct. 18.”

From an unaffected point of view, the issue is a tricky one, as the money is to be set aside and spent to best promote EVs, and advance their infrastructure…but if one takes into consideration the myriad of businesses trying to gain a foothold in the charging network industry (most of which are floundering badly), the two interests would seem to be at odds.

The Wall Street Journal, Reuters

Categories: Charging, Volkswagen

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72 Comments on "ChargePoint: VW’s $2 Billion Settlement Into EV Infrastructure To “Drown Out” Industry"

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I have *this* little sympathy for ChargePoint.
The moment you start using their network, they charge your credit card $25 “in advance”, as if you were some fly-by-night thief living in a dubious cash-based economy where credit cards are declined most of the time.

Then, as soon as our usage exceeded ~$10, they advance-charged *another* $25. So on average, they are “ahead” of their customers by some $35-40. In effect, they are permanently “borrowing” (=robbing) that amount from each and every one of us. Do the math, then see how hollow their complaints are about anyone being “drowned”.

That, before going into their quick-chargers being the weakest in their class, meaning that you overpay to get less.

Bonaire

I have had a Chargepoint card in my Volt since September 2012. Used it many times. Never gave them one penny.

I guess they do it to users of the EZ Charge card, but perhaps not to their own card subscribers.

I have 4-5 networks linked to our EZ Charge. None of the others do that.

Clive

You have to call them, change your account to a free-only-account without a credit card attached, you will get a refund check back for the balance on your account. Then you can pay as you go from that point later, by calling and giving a cc for the non-free chargers you use only.

Aaron

I did one better: With ChargePoint spewing all this misinformation about Tesla Superchargers, trying to promote their own interests, I cancelled my ChargePoint account.

Joshua Burstyn

+1. Also irritated that many “Chargepoint” stations listed in their application are not open to the public, require permission from the mall to use or are otherwise encumbered. Don’t say it is a Chargepoint station if MB or Lexus will not let a Tesla, Kia or BMW charge there!!!

Michael Will

Where is that? I have not seen a single one that was like that. Variety of pricings from free to unreasonable 50 cents per kWh but never specific to a type of car.

Joshua Burstyn

Lexus building at Progress and Markham and the unit at the MB dealership at Laird and Eglinton in Toronto are both restricted. Last time I checked they are listed in the Chargepoint app but cannot be used by folks with a competing brand’s vehicle despite having Chargepoint logos on the stations. At Mapleview Mall in Burlington there is a Chargepoint branded EVSE but you must sign a waiver to be given the only working access card. Stupid!!!

Bonaire
Interesting thing here is there is an ITC of 30% for charging infrastructure installations. If the American arm of VW and company is profitable, they can also take substantial tax credits while spending this money they are forced to pay-out. Where will these chargers go? One hold-back for people buying EVs is range-anxiety and value of charging helping spur the interest. This means – do it right. Install charging at sites of most need. 100 L1 sites at every airport. hundreds of commuter train stations. Business locations where people typically drive 50+ miles to work but won’t buy an EV just yet due to range-anxiety. Shopping centers and malls. Movie Theaters. Anywhere that someone will be stationary for 2-8 hours or more consistently. Not grocery stores (half hour to hour) and not libraries. But where people are putting real miles onto cars – those are the ones who would benefit from charging infrastructure. And make the electricity sold there business-rate power prices (roughly .10/kWh) and not Blink’s .49/kWh crazy pricing which makes EVs impossible to choose over gasoline cars for the price of the charging sites. This whole thing is a mess. Networks want to stay alive but do so… Read more »
G2

+1

David Murray

Sorry, I can’t agree with the government stepping in and limiting prices. This is a free market. If chargepoint is over charging and people are actually paying for it, then this is a perfect example of where a competitor should step in an offer a more reasonable price.

Limiting the price a company can charge does not help bring more charging infrastructure.

Yogurt

The locations you list do not matter to me or most people…

It should largely be DC quick chargers on or by the freeway to enable long distance travel like the Tesla Super Charger network…
That is what people need the most…
Business can instal there own low speed chargers if they think there is a need…

But it is VWs money and they should spend it in they way that ia most profitable because that is the way it is most useful…

pjwood1

Idle Air is angling for the most profitable way for VW to spend the money. Since they service trucks, at rest stops, VW wouldn’t hasten the conversion to EVs by advancing infrastructure. That would be most profitable, for VW. It just isn’t the current definition of where the 2bb could go.

That VW has control of the 2bb is the biggest issue. “Profit” has already been proven to be something they pursue at the expense of the law, and their customers.

Yogurt

Kinda like GM Toyota Ford and …

Otto Sayas

The legislation that created the national highway system, (and those lovely “rest areas”) specifically prohibits commercial activities at those rest areas. The logical location for charging infrasturcture. The Congress will need to change the law. Good luck with that!

Pushmi-Pullyu

Bonaire said:

“There needs to be legislation that limits the cost per kWh to something closer to 30% over their billed electric rate for the location.”

That would be an absolute disaster. Competition is going to drive down prices, and will force those companies which overcharge out of business. Imposing regulations on the business would in the long run suppress competition, and prop up companies which can’t compete.

There are times where it’s appropriate for the government to step in and regulate a market. But the default should always be to allow or support a competitive market. Government should only step in when the market fails to be truly competitive — for example, when a monopoly or cabal manages to fix prices and drive out actual competition.

tosho

There will never be any money in EV infrastructure. Tesla’s approach to provide the chargers for “free” and cover the costs with their car sales is probably the only viable model. Maybe there will be also “free” infrastructure built by governments.
Electricity is simply too cheap and readily available. People will start avoiding paid EV chargers if someone tries to cover the entire costs for them only by the electricity/charging price. The difference between EV charger kW/h and home outlet kW/h would be too big…

Someone out there

You are not just selling electricity, you are also selling convenience. Make sure charging locations have other services for people waiting for a charge and you can increase your profits.

a-kindred-soul

Most large Auchan supermarkets in France, located close to the motorway, charge nothing for their electricity and keep the chargers up and running. That business model works, because people nearly without exception buy stuff in the supermarket and for more money then they would ever pay for electricity.

tosho
You are absolutely right, but I think that most people won’t see it this way. The problem is that people think of EV chargers and electricity the same way they do about gas and gas stations. EVs have a very different usage pattern than fossil fuel cars but people won’t get used to it for a long time. They won’t realise that they don’t pay for the electricity but for the charger. For example – there are a lot of people that prefer to charge their teslas at nearby superchargers instead of plugin them in at home. They waste a lot of time only to “save” a couple of bucks. Complaining that someone is abusing “free” superchargers is another manifestation of this misunderstanding – electricity is probably Tesla’s smallest expense for their superchargers. Feeling the “need” to charge an EV as fast as fuelling a fossil car is a third example of this. Why do we have do develop EVs that charge in 15 minutes when 99% of all cars are stationary for 95% of the time? There are a lot more examples of bias, people have about EVs just because they don’t see the differences between them and ICE… Read more »

I wouldn’t say free is best. It has its share of issues too. Although seeming to work well now overall for Tesla, long term it’s generally not seen as a viable model for CCS and CHAdeMO fast chargers.

Kdawg

“Why do we have do develop EVs that charge in 15 minutes when 99% of all cars are stationary for 95% of the time?”
———

Because some people like to travel long distances in their cars and don’t want to stop for more than 15 minutes.

Martin Winlow

To be fair, in the UK at least, fully charging a 90kWh Tesla battery ‘for free’ could save you as much as £20. The same would apply for much of Europe.

Peter

Yes here in Denmark 1 kWh of electricity cost approx. DKK2 ($0.3). So fully charging a 100 kWh EV costs approx. $30.
The majority of the electricity price is green taxes, just like with fuel prices which are also way way higher than in the US.

Pushmi-Pullyu
“There will never be any money in EV infrastructure.” “Never” is a long time. There certainly will come a time when it’s commonplace for BEVs to stop at a super-fast charge station along the highway, and recharge in 5-10 minutes. Don’t call it “paying for electricity”; call it a “convenience charge”. People will pay $1 for a small bottle of water. Does that mean that a pint of water is worth $1? Of course not! But people will pay for the convenience of having a bottle of water to take with them. “Tesla’s approach to provide the chargers for ‘free’ and cover the costs with their car sales is probably the only viable model.” No, that’s just a stopgap measure. Tesla’s model will only “work” if every EV manufacturer builds its own proprietary charging network. That’s not viable long-term, nor would it work very well. It would be as if Ford and Chevy and Nissan and Toyota and Buick all had to build their own nationwide network of gas stations, which no other cars could use. There’s a good reason why the motorcar revolution didn’t cause that to happen, and the same reason is why the EV revolution won’t happen… Read more »
Someone out there

Build charging stations along every highway every 30-50 miles and then auction them to the existing charging providers.

Get Real

I agree that Bonair on installing L1 charging at work places and other places where people park for a good part of the day/days like airports, train stations and apartment buildings.

I agree that L2 should be at retail places and low or no cost for the kwh and the businesses benefit by selling their products/services to the EV customers.

However, I think the most important need going forward as large battery PEVs are being produced and sold in good numbers will be DCFC for road trippers and apartment dwellers who don’t yet have access to much local charging (which also needs to be addressed).

Now when it comes to DCFC, obviously the amount of energy being consumed will be substantial and has to be factored in but if it is too costly then it will be a disincentive to PEV adoption.

And BTW, the relatively low true cost of DCFC hardware on cars should be incentivised by making it a necessary part of recieving the tax credit to keep the GMs of the world from trying to gouge customers on it like they will be doing with the Bolt initially.

Anon

VW: Just give that 2B to Elon. He’ll put it to good use. 😉

pjwood1

I saw another “farfrumlegal” bumper sticker, on an Audi A3 TDI, that was at a Tesla dealer today 🙂

Anon

Good to see VW Owner / Victims swapping out for something better.

But a Tesla DEALER??? o_o

Pushmi-Pullyu

Hey, it’s no worse than calling the accelerator pedal in a BEV the “gas pedal”. 🙂

David Murray

I wonder if VW might end up benefiting from this long term? Say, 15 years from now when EVs are much more popular, they could be in the lead of charging station infrastructure and perhaps recoup all of this money and then some.

Interesting question. It’s not VW that will own or operate these chargers tho, is it? At least that’s not what came to my mind… I could be wrong.

What infrastructure is ChargePoint referencing?

There is a vast difference in the quality of experience charging at a public 208V outlet delivering 25-30 amps of energy vs a DC charger delivering energy at 50-150 kW.

Note: the number of charging connections that ChargePoint operates capable of delivering over 18 kW of energy is a very small number of the quoted 30,000 public locations.

Brian, say more about what you mean when you say a vast difference in charging between Level 2 and DCFC.

Mel

I have no issues with chargepoint , but we need more QuickChargers soon.

I live in Orlando Fl and there is only 3QC , with more automakers entering into the EV market , it will be logical to invest more on the QC .

However, America is really addictive to gasoline engines , so it will take time for the EV to really make a huge market impact .

Texas FFE

I really don’t understand ChargePoint’s complaint, it sounds like ChargePoint is shooting itself in the foot. Volkswagen has been one of ChargePoint’s greatest supporters. ChargePoint should be fostering its’ relationship with Volkswagen to get a lionshare of that $2B instead of slowing down the process in the courts.

mustang_sallad

This probably means that the VW/ChargePoint relationship hasn’t been going well recently, so ChargePoint is concerned that none of the $2B VW spends will head their way. Surely VW could direct this money towards organizations like the CEC that are actively supporting DCFC deployments through open competitions. ChargePoint just won a bunch of those last week.

Yogurt

ChargePoint has made an EV charging network that has little value and would probably go under on its own…
In Tucson ChargePoint has 10 locations 2 of those are Level 1 and the othe 8 are Level 2…
They have zero DC fast chargers and none of their chargers are on or by the freeway…
They have 1 DC fast charger in Phoenix and they want to stay in business???
Lawsuits might be there best strategy if their network is worthless to begin with…
So how exactly does ChargePoint even matter??

VW should be allowed to spend the 2 Billion however they chose in devoloping a fast charging network…
They most likely want it to be profitable so it should be DC fast chargers were they are needed ala Tealas Super Charger network…

If ChargePoint wasted their money time and effort rolling out chargers that people do not use due to charging speeds and locations that is not VWs fault and it should not be their problem…

I still say that EV Quick Chargers should: Be paid for by Advertising budget $, never installed in fewer than a pair of units, offer Dual Ports (CCS& CHAdeMO), and each backed up by a pair of 6.6 to 18 kW Level 2 stations.

Most workplace charging should be 120V x 20 Amps (60-80% of them) Level 1, with 15% – 25% of them as 240V x 20 Amp (3.3 kW) Level 2! Maybe about 5% should be 240V x 40 Amp (6.6 kW) Level 2!

Airports should be likely 90% Level 1 in long service parking, with about 10% providing 3.3 kW Level 2. Short term Airport Parking should offer 6.6 kW for at least 60 to 65% and 35 to 40% at 10 to 16 kW (Particularly if they install 100 or so so stations.

Well said, especially having a minimum of two fast chargers per location, but chargers paid for by advertising?? Really??
Look at Norway and other countries in Europe for what is the norm and what we will see in the U.S. as well eventually I say.
I suppose most of you are aware that the majority of charging in Norway is billed by the minute… that’s what the providers there have now settled on, and that is seen as the best and simplest solution for mature EV markets.

Pushmi-Pullyu

“…chargers paid for by advertising?? Really??”

Yeah, that’s only going to work if it’s Tesla’s advertising. 100% of Tesla’s cars are PEVs. For other auto makers, what’s the largest percentage? About 7%, or less? Legacy auto makers are not gonna pay to support only 1-2% of their production.

Let’s consider what happens to municipally owned, free PEV chargers. They fall into disrepair, and are never fixed, because the city has no incentive to fix them. The only way that an EV charging network is going to be reliable is if it’s a for-profit system. If a business depends on chargers working in order to generate income, then they will make sure they get fixed when they need to be.

Per – “Well said, especially having a minimum of two fast chargers per location, but chargers paid for by advertising?? Really??” Maybe I was not specific, or clear. How much money does a Dealer (Automotive) spend on Advertising? How much $$ is spent on Advertising in General? How much is Spent on Radio adds? Newspaper Ads? Television Ads? Internet Ads? How much doe even fortune 500 Companies pay annually for Advertising? And – who is seeing the ads they pay for? How can they even begin to track how much the ad they spend millions on is working?? If you use a part % of Advertising $$ to invest in DC QC and Matching Level 2 Stations, on which you place QR codes (abbreviated from Quick Response Code) [is the trademark for a type of matrix barcode (or two-dimensional barcode) first designed for the automotive industry in Japan.] and each station unit has a different QR Code – you can also then track back the traction the investment is netting you! Put some good offers there for EV Buyer, and you will get your money back, you will get data on the tracking results, and you will know much more… Read more »
Texas FFE

ChargePoint under the ChargeNow umbrella is probably the largest charge station provider in the world. I agree that ChargePoint should be installing more more DCFC chargers but they are installing badly needed chargers where no one else is. Providing charging stations is still a very young industry, I expect ChargePoint to keep trying until they get their business model right and to continue to be a major player in the industry.

TP

ChargePoint and Car Charging Group ( aka Blink) are network operators. Historically they have not owned the majority of the EVSE stations on their networks. Instead their model is to sell equipment to property owners and charge them a per port annual network fee.

The station owner sets the price, determines if it is public/private, can choose to list if on network maps, etc.

BMW, Nissan and VW have been trying to change that model a little by asking the networks to be owner-operators.

So a locations make up of L1 & L2 stations is likely based on what the property owner was willing to spend.

Marve

The best way forward is probably for VW to use the money to create a grant program for rest of the companies to compete for and expand their networks with the stipulation that they be truly open to the public.

Right. That’s how I’m envisioning it to be… grants awarded for various corridor projects of DCFC.

Plus, since this was part of a settlement for wrongdoing, no money should be used for just CCS Only Charging Stations!

All fast Charging should be a minimum of 50 kW, be sited with a minimum of 2 stations, each offering CCS and/or CHAdeMO dual plugs, or, better yet: Dual service units that can charge Both CCS And CHAdeMO at the same time; and each site have 6.6 kW to 18 kW AC Level 2 Charging in equal numbers on site as well, for backup or overflow!

Yup, and in a year from now 150 kW fast chargers may be starting to be installed.
You know at the Paris Motor Show DBT showed their new 150 kW CCS, CHAdeMO, and Type 2 fast charger. I couldn’t see it in any of their info, but I’m fairly certain it’s like the Delta Electrinics 150 kW fast charger which splits power between the plugs for 1st gen EVs that charge at 50 kW. So a CHAdeMO EV and a CCS EV can charge simultaneously.

jim stack

Marve , Great idea, a VW Grant would add stations for EVeryone and pump up the existing charging companies.

Anon

And in return, VW can stipulate that they must brand the EV Charging Stations with their LOGO, since they provided the money. Advertising in new automotive market, accomplished.

Clever.

Nelson

While adding that letting VW “flood a competitive market with $2 billion in goods threatens the survival of the current participants in that market.”

Once again Spock says, “Logic clearly dictates that the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few.”

In this case ChargePoint is the few.

NPNS! SBF!
Volt#671

pjwood1

L2 charging, like ChargePoint, still has its place in cities, and “destinations”, but we’re already transitioning to a long-range/L3 highway, or DCFC, world.

Not that I trust VW to do it, but they should put the money where their mouth is (finally) and develop 800v DCFC that works for their high-line cars, and can step down to 400V for others. That would allow some proprietary benefit, while still meeting the Settlement terms.

Yes, exactly!! And as far as I’ve been able to tell by inquiring, an 800 volt fast charger would have the capability to charge a 400 volt EV too.

Texas FFE

ChargePoint is most likely owned by BMW through ChargeNow. At the very least BMW has a lot of control over ChargePoint. I wonder how ChargePoint’s relationship with BMW affected ChargePoint’s statement regarding the VW court ruling?

Maybe ChargePoint thinks VW is going to freeze ChargePoint out of the $2B because of their BMW connection.

Kdawg

How many plug-in players do we have? Why not just split up the 2 billion among them as an investment?

Craig

Everything the Government touches they break.
This will not be different.

TP

So there are a lot of ways that VW could go about “growing” EV infrastructure. For instance they could simply buy an existing network provider or two and change the model to be more owner-operator.

They can likely place equipment at all their dealerships, and count that. They could provide zoo’s, airports, and state & federal parks with equipment.

Taser54

The money should go to a fund spilt by each state then private companies can submit competitive bids for installing charging stations. MD did that with a million dollar settlement and seeded DCFC across the state.

Bill Howland

Most of the money will probably go to 1-2 million dollar H2 stations.

I wish CP would fix their silly locks that prevent you from charging even when authorized.

It will be interesting to see what amount of the money goes toward H2O infrastructure for sure.
About the locks Bill, you mean how sometimes ChargePoint Level 2 stations have issues unlocking the connector? I’ve had that happen and seen it reported on PlugShare too.

Hugo Hvidsten

They could go for the Norwegian model, using “reverse auctions”. This should keep the operators happy because they can build the networks, but with money from the government, or in this case from VW 🙂

The way it works here is that a government agency decides (with support from the Norwegian EV Association and others) which highways needs to be made accessible for EVs, and then they let the charging operators bid (= ask for money) for these stretches. The operator who asks for the smallest amount of money get all the government money for that stretch. They don’t get any money before the whole stretch is completed, of course….

The government agency sets the minimum standards, which basically are
– minimum 2 x 50 KW multistandard DC chargers at each location.
– minimum 2 x 22 KW chargers at each location.
– chargers must be available for all customers, not only for members or existing customers.
– chargers must be available 24/7
– maximum 50 km (30 miles) between charger locations

And IT WORKS 🙂

I don’t see why the US federal government couldn’t do the same thing with the money from VW.

I hope this link works
https://translate.google.com/translate?sl=no&tl=en&js=y&prev=_t&hl=no&ie=UTF-8&u=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.enova.no%2Ffinansiering%2Fnaring%2Ftransport%2Fstotte-til-ladeinfrastruktur%2F1034%2F0%2F&edit-text=

Original (in Norwegian) link:
https://www.enova.no/finansiering/naring/transport/stotte-til-ladeinfrastruktur/1034/0/

Thanks for that info Hugo!! Its great to have info from Norway, a mature EV market. Here’s to hoping something similar will be done in the U.S. with the VW fine.

Tony Williams

California does something similar with its funding of publically (tax money) EV infrastructure.

The agency that handles this is the California Energy Commission (CEC). Their recent grants for “north – south corridors” and “inter-regional” charging has the following talking points:

1) minimum two DC charge points
2) one must be equipped for at least one 120kW charger
3) roughly every 30-40 miles apart
4) payments made at completion thresholds
5) input from EV community with public forums (I have attended many of these)

The VW fiasco will provide the state of California with $800 million over 10 years, with payments made every 30 months of $200 million.

I can guarantee that the hydrogen lobby will take a HUGE portion of these funds. They are that strong in California. That’s in addition to the $20 million per year minimum that the state already spends on hydrogen.

The fight is only beginning.

Four Electrics

The hydrogen lobby–that’s funny. Perhaps you are referring to CARB officials? I can’t imagine what kind of lobby survives on the margins of $20M a year of funding for hydrogen projects; that’s one eight thousandth of California’s annual budget. Maybe you’d get one percent of one lobbyist. Then there are the “lobbies” of Japan, Korea, Australia, Germany, etc. all of which are pro-hydrogen. Perhaps they’re also donating fractional lobbyists.

Martin Winlow

Doesn’t Chargepoint sell… er… charge points? If not then obviously they should start doing so as even a small share (amongst all the other EVSE sellers out there) of $2b is a lot of money. Someone has got to supply them… or am I missing something?

Spider-Dan

I find it rather bizarre that there is so little sympathy for one of the few moderately-successful charging network providers voicing concerns about their market… yet anytime there is a question as to whether automakers should also jump into this frail industry, or if charging networks have a hope of replacing our gasoline infrastructure, many EV advocates voice full-throated support for charging networks.

The business model does not work as it is, and if VW installs $2B of free chargers (and then does nothing else), the only result is that every fledgling charging network will be driven out of business, right before the free chargers fall into disrepair.

If you don’t want a future with gasoline, and you’re against a move to hydrogen, then you should be enthusiastically supporting charging network providers. They need all the help they can get.

Terawatt

I think ChargePoint makes a valid point. It’s clearly unfair to those who have invested in EV infrastructure to suddenly have their business undermined like this. On the other hand there was always a political risk that any nation might decide EVs are important and publicly fund the infrastructure, with much the same consequences as this.

Perhaps VW should be forced to subsidise its own competitors in the infrastructure space? This could be done by making VWs contribution on a per kWh delivered basis, so that it can’t be exploited by setting up chargers in places where noone uses them or not maintaining them properly. I’ve not attempted to do the math, but say anyone who operates publicly accessible CCS chargers can claim 15 cents per kWh delivered, on a first-claimed basis for as long as the two billions last?

Pushmi-Pullyu

While I can sympathize with fledgling EV charging companies struggling to make a profit, at the same time I can’t feel any regret over a huge infusion of capital into building out many, many more public charging points. That has the potential to be a huge boost for the EV revolution.

In my opinion, the most important question is this: Will VW do the responsible thing, and established a forward-looking charging network, one capable of being upgraded to tomorrow’s faster and faster charging; a network to rival (or even supersede) Tesla’s Supercharging system, and one designed to create a true charging standard instead of just one more competing charging format?

Perhaps it’s unrealistic to actually think all that can happen, but still I can hope!

JayTee

A green energy company complaining about having to compete with free money? That’s rich.

The best way to kill EV is to offer free charging. Whoever offer free charging will take business away from pay-to-use charge providers, thus putting them out of business.

People will crowd around free chargers, hopelessly clogging them and making them ill suited for their intended purpose of longer distance travel. I see this happening with Leaf and i3 already. Apparently, people’s times are not worth 30 minutes at DCFC when they could be charging at home.

If VW, etc. are really trying to kill EV, just offer free charging. EV will be dead or forever remain a tiny niche.

Bob Nan

Dieselgate is a golden opportunity to put the Diesel behind and start selling electric cars.

I hope they price the upcoming eGolf with a higher range at an affordable price.
Otherwise everyone will simply migrate to Chevy Bolt.

Besides Hyundai Ioniq Electric can also be another choice if priced lower.