Volkswagen Group and BP announced the launch of their strategic partnership related to electric vehicles across Europe, unveiling the first charger in Dusseldorf, Germany.
The collaboration was first announced a year ago and is focused on accelerating the adoption of electric cars.
The short-term target is to expand the public fast-charging infrastructure by up to 4,000 additional points in two countries - Germany (at bp's Aral retail sites) and in the UK (at bp retail sites).
The installation of chargers at bp's fuel stations has two big advantages: convenient locations and additional services.
To minimize costs and accelerate the expansion, bp will install Volkswagen's Flexpole "flexible" fast chargers, equipped with battery energy storage (ESS) and two plugs (CCS2-standard). The Flexpole has a power output of up to 150 kW and thanks to a battery buffer, it does not require a very high-power connection.
The German carmaker points out that the ESS solves one of the biggest obstacles:
"Volkswagen’s innovative Flexpole 150kW charging units, each of which feature two charge points, have an integrated battery storage system, overcoming one of the biggest obstacles to the rapid roll-out of fast charging infrastructure in Europe today – the need for high-powered grid connections. The Flexpole units can be directly connected to a low voltage grid which removes the requirement for a dedicated substation and costly construction work, significantly reducing installation times while still providing fast charging speeds of up to 150kW..."
The first unit is now online in Dusseldorf, Germany. According to the press release, the partnership could lead to up to 8,000 new charge points across Germany, UK, and other European countries by the end 2024.
Such agreements might be very important in the near future, as the time to scale up the charging infrastructure is very precious. 150 kW might not be the ultimate solution, but Europe needs a lot of chargers fast to support the transition to EVs. The 350 kW chargers and dedicated EV stations can be installed in parallel.
The infrastructure is not the only area of collaboration. All of the new chargers will be also integrated into the Volkswagen Group's in-car dashboards as well as into Volkswagen’s charging application, Elli, to ensure that drivers can find their nearest charger seamlessly. We believe that through roaming agreements, the chargers will be gradually listed also in the navigation systems of all cars and charging apps.