Volkswagen To Invest $10 Million Into U.S. Electric Car Charging Infrastructure

FEB 10 2015 BY ERIC LOVEDAY 50

With This Investment Announcement, We Suspect That The VW e-Golf Will Be Sold Nationwide Soon

With This Investment Announcement, We Suspect That The VW e-Golf Will Be Sold Nationwide Soon

Volkswagen Invest 410 Into U.S.' Electric Car Charging Infrastructure

Volkswagen Invest $10 Million Into U.S.’ Electric Car Charging Infrastructure

Bam!!!

Volkswagen comes out with a bang by announcing a $10 million investment into the U.S.’ electric car charging infrastructure:

“Jörg Sommer, vice president, product marketing and strategy, Volkswagen of America, today presented Volkswagen’s holistic approach to e-mobility surrounding the launch of the zero-tailpipe emissions 2015 e-Golf, including a $10 million commitment to support electric vehicle infrastructure by 2016.”

But it seems Volkswagen isn’t entirely pleased with the current electric car charging situation in the U.S.  Quoting Sommer:

“Automakers have effectively delivered electric vehicles that can satisfy the needs of most American drivers.  In addition to the investment we and other companies and industries are making, we would like to see Federal financing support for establishing fast charging networks in urban areas and interstate corridors. We’d like to see more state and federal organizations commit to cleaner fleets by purchasing EVs and PHEVs. This should be a U.S. Government priority, and federal purchasing guidelines should reflect that by giving fleet purchasers the flexibility they need.  We need further congressional support with the mid-term review of the EPA’s greenhouse gas regulation to extend the multiplier credits for plug-in vehicles beyond MY21.”

This $10 million dollar investment does include the recently launched ChargePoint/Volkswagen/BMW CCS fast charger rollout, but extends beyond that too:

e-Golf & i3 At CCS Fast Charger

e-Golf & i3 At CCS Fast Charger

“This investment is one piece of a $10 million commitment Volkswagen has announced to support the electric vehicle charging infrastructure. The company will also invest to support installation of charging stations in certain dealer locations. To facilitate local, state and regional infrastructure deployment, Sommer suggested that the regulators will also need to support programs that reinforce these efforts to support mass electric vehicle adoption including the Department of Energy’s Clean Cities program and the Department of Transportation’s MAP-21 program.”

From all this, we have to conclude that the Volkswagen e-Golf will soon be offered nationwide.  it wouldn’t make sense for VW to support the charging infrastructure so strongly if it didn’t intend to make available the e-Golf in all 50 U.S. states.

Press release below:

VOLKSWAGEN OF AMERICA TO INVEST $10 MILLION IN ELECTRIC VEHICLE CHARGING INFRASTRUCTURE BY 2016
Feb 10, 2015

Washington, D.C., February 10, 2015 – Jörg Sommer, vice president, product marketing and strategy, Volkswagen of America, today presented Volkswagen’s holistic approach to e-mobility surrounding the launch of the zero-tailpipe emissions 2015 e-Golf, including a $10 million commitment to support electric vehicle infrastructure by 2016. During a presentation delivered at the 2015 Electric Drive Congress in Washington D.C., Sommer stated that Volkswagen believes continued legislative support is needed to reach the next level of electric vehicle adoption.

“Automakers have effectively delivered electric vehicles that can satisfy the needs of most American drivers,” said Sommer. “In addition to the investment we and other companies and industries are making, we would like to see Federal financing support for establishing fast charging networks in urban areas and interstate corridors. We’d like to see more state and federal organizations commit to cleaner fleets by purchasing EVs and PHEVs. This should be a U.S. Government priority, and federal purchasing guidelines should reflect that by giving fleet purchasers the flexibility they need,” Sommer said. “We need further congressional support with the mid-term review of the EPA’s greenhouse gas regulation to extend the multiplier credits for plug-in vehicles beyond MY21”.

Sommer discussed the programs that Volkswagen has invested in including the recently announced initiative with Chargepoint to support development of express charging corridors along heavily-traveled routes on the East and West Coasts. Designed to increase the number of fast charging locations, the initiative will help meet the large and growing demand for convenient, publicly available electric vehicle fast chargers, including direct current (DC) Fast charging locations, and support the adoption of electric vehicles in the United States. The goal of the Chargepoint program is to install nearly 100 DC Fast Chargers across both coasts aiming to have charging sites no more than 50 miles apart.

This investment is one piece of a $10 million commitment Volkswagen has announced to support the electric vehicle charging infrastructure. The company will also invest to support installation of charging stations in certain dealer locations. To facilitate local, state and regional infrastructure deployment, Sommer suggested that the regulators will also need to support programs that reinforce these efforts to support mass electric vehicle adoption including the Department of Energy’s Clean Cities program and the Department of Transportation’s MAP-21 program.

Sommer explained the Volkswagen Group’s global commitment to become more environmentally conscious from sourcing, to manufacturing, to the cars on the road and beyond. This commitment has been a guide in Volkswagen of America’s holistic approach to e-mobility and the launch of the e-Golf. Through strategic collaborations, the company addressed the forward thinking lifestyle and preferences of the EV customer: Volkswagen of America (VWoA) teamed with 3Degrees, a renewable energy and carbon offset services provider. Under a carbon reduction/offset program, Volkswagen will help offset the e-Golf greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions resulting from its production, distribution and from the estimated emissions produced from keeping the vehicle charged through the initial 36,000 miles of the vehicle’s life.

Other initiatives supporting VWoA’s holistic approach include an arrangement with SunPower to provide qualified U.S. Volkswagen e-Golf customers the opportunity to install a high performance solar system. In addition, e-Golf customers will have the opportunity to purchase home charging installation and hardware packages from Bosch.

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50 Comments on "Volkswagen To Invest $10 Million Into U.S. Electric Car Charging Infrastructure"

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“we need this … we need that …”. How about put your money where your mouth is and deliver the cars and build the infrastructure like a certain other startup that didn’t ask government to provide for it?

+1

The US support is already stronger than their home country. $7500 off the price of 200,000 vehicles, a $1.5 billion incentive, should leave plenty of room for putting a few chargers in at your dealers.

Well, this article seems to say that they *are* putting their money where there mouth is …

There is also a difference with regard to Tesla. The superchargers are proprietary and cannot be used for any other cars but expensive Teslas. CCS (and CHAdeMO, which will also be available at many of the new Chargepoint DC chargers), on the other hand, are industry standards that can be used by many makes and models, i.e. it’s really more of a public infrastructure. It’s understandable that one manufacturer doesn’t want to bear all the cost alone.

Any OEM can join Tesla and use the Supercharger Network as long as they pay their share.

Tesla will have a BEV with a lower base price than the eGolf before VW has a nationwide network capable of charging an eGolf driving from Los Angeles to New York.

That’s a nice theory. In reality, no manufacturer in their right mind will build a charging standard into their cars that is completely controlled by a single manufacturer. There is a reason why standardization bodies exist.

Well they could draft an agreement that puts control of it into a neutral body.

Not really. Musk said “any manufacturer whose cars can accept a 135kW charge”. But that’s a weird requirement designed to keep all current EVs out. Super Chargers can technically charge at lower rate, so it’s not a technical restriction. DC chargers try to supply the charge rate requested by the car, not the other way around. And assuming they would only charge at up to 50kW when a Leaf or i3 with Super Charger connector uses one, the charging process would still reach 80% quicker than on a Tesla.

The requirement makes sense to me for two reasons.

1) Tesla wants OEMs to make long-range BEVs. That means a large battery, which is naturally capable of high charge rates. They want to discourage the trend of commuter BEVs with small batteries and this is one way to do it. I personally think there is room for both until batteries are much cheaper.

2) Tesla wants to avoid congestion at the superchargers. Imagine the frustration of a Model S owner pulling into a supercharger, only to find it full of Leafs charging at <50kW. I know if I had paid $70k+ for a car with access, I wouldn't want to wait in line behind a commuter car which is opportunity charging.

Tesla just installed a supercharger about 45 miles east of me. As much as I would love to have access with a Leaf, I understand why they are currently restricting it to long-range BEVs only.

I mostly understand Tesla’s reasoning and agree. I just don’t like how they explain it, because it’s not entirely truthful.

Not to split hairs, but I thought InsideEvs just had an article about a model S 85 doing 112 kw AT THE CAR. (The input to the hidden charger bay may be 135 kw, but the statement of Musk implied ‘at the car’ also).

SO what exactly is the largest power level for a model S ‘at the dashboard’ currently?

45 miles east? Brian HI! and what town is that? So how far is it from there to the future Clarence (10 miles east of buffalo) location?

The CCS standard as currently written only supports 80 kW.

There are no standards right now that support > 100 kW DC charging. There’s talk, but no actual ratified standards.

Tesla needed to finalize and ship in 2011/2012, and they realized that SAE with its constituent automaker members were stalling since they really didn’t care since they don’t have a product.

Even now, there are zero DC fast charging standards that support long distance BEV travel other than Tesla’s.

I am waiting for the existing gas stations to get on this. They have plenty of roof space for solar and would probably want to keep the model of having people stop in and get snacks, etc. while they charge their car. Seems like an easy thing to add.

The problem with this idea is that gas stations tend to be designed with very short stops in mind while DC quick charging takes significantly more time. One of the things I enjoy so much about taking road trips in my Model S is that the superchargers are located in places where spending half an hour is pleasant (or at least not excruciating). They tend put them within walking distance of malls, restaurants, interesting shops, etc. so you have something to do other than stare at the charging screen while the car charges. I would NOT want to spend half an hour waiting for the car to charge at a typical gas station. Same goes for spending half an hour in the lobby of a typical car dealership.

If these aren’t intended for road trips like Tesla superchargers then putting them next to grocery stores, malls, coffee shops, etc. where people tend to go for 20-30 minutes for reasons other than to fuel their vehicle would make a lot of sense.

Right. The “gas station plus convenience store” is the wrong business model for an EV charging station. And it will be until charging times get down to somewhere in the neighborhood of 10 minutes or even less. At present, a location next to a restaurant or shopping center makes a lot more sense. There are two factors working against anyone building a for-profit EV charging station at present: 1. Lack of customers. Less than 1% of auto sales are plug-in EVs, so there aren’t a lot of customers out there. And those potential customers do 90-95% of their charging at home (or at work), which means there are very few potential customers looking for a charge at any time. 2. Long charge times. Just like the gas station owner, the for-profit fast-charge station owner would like every customer to get in and out as soon as possible. If someone were to sit at a gas pump for half an hour, that would tie up that pump so no other customers could use it. If -every- customer spent that long filling up at the pump, the gas station owner would make very little income for the day. Sadly for the (not… Read more »
“1. Lack of customers. Less than 1% of auto sales are plug-in EVs, so there aren’t a lot of customers out there. And those potential customers do 90-95% of their charging at home (or at work), which means there are very few potential customers looking for a charge at any time.” There are high concentrations of EVs in a few areas (>10% of new cars in Santa Clara county have a plug). And while most EV owners (myself included) charge primarily at home, reliable DC charging in a densely populated area might convince more people to take the plunge- especially if they already have access to charging at work. It’s a bit of a chicken-and-egg problem, but as cars that can accept >100 kW DC charging become more affordable, I bet there are at least some locations where people already spend ~30 minutes that could support for-profit EV charging. But these would still require either on-site battery storage or need to be run directly by a utility to avoid high demand chargers from the utility. 2. regarding long charge times- this is less of an issue if the EV charging business uses an existing parking lot where cars would normally… Read more »

wraithnot:

Thanks muchly for your very interesting (and well informed) comments!

Interesting idea to have the electric utilities set up their own fast-charge stations, to avoid any surcharge for high power usage. That would certainly be preferable to an older idea I saw: That the most affordable way for a fast-charge station owner to generate high electric current, without having to pay the local utility surcharges for high power demand, would be to install a powerful diesel generator. Burning fossil fuel to fast-charge a PEV?!?! ::facepalm::

battery storage is getting cheap enough now that multiple groups are installing stationary batteries in conjunction with DC fast chargers. This would allow you to charge the batteries slowly and then release the energy quickly to a car without paying demand chargers. I’ve seen the 360 kWh bank of batteries at the Barstow supercharger so at least Tesla is already doing this.

Not really. They could add L2 stations fairly easily, but who’s going to sit for hours at a gas station? Only DC fast chargers would make any sense and those are VERY expensive to install. Most of the fast chargers in my area get used anywhere from 0 to 1 time per day. There are a few stations located in busy areas that get more usage. But I would think for such a charger to be a worthwhile investment for a gas station, it would need to have a steady stream of customers waiting to use the station.

Gas stations have contracts for their fuel supply from the oil industry. They are not going to be the salvation for the green industry.

Restaurants and Hotels are a much better bet for EV’s. They want the relatively high income customers that make up the current EV owner base. If charging stations successfully attract business, then they will be happy to allow charging stations to be built on their property.

You obviously don’t understand where the money is made on the Gas Station/Convenience Store model.

Very little money is made selling gasoline in these stores, Money is made in the store.

Yes, but that’s because gas stations are so ubiquitous that they’ve been forced into an extremely competitive pricing model. What other type of store has a sign out front where it advertises the current price of its #1 product?

Since fast-charge stations will never be as commonplace as gas stations are now, and therefore won’t be forced to price electrical current as competitively, perhaps they can use the business model of gas stations from, say, the 1950s, when the business actually did make a profit selling gasoline.

However, note that EV charging stalls (both slow-charge and “DC fast charge) at restaurants, supermarkets, and shopping malls essentially use the same business model as the gas-station-plus-convenience-store. That is, they offer a place to stop and recharge your car, in the hope that you’ll walk into their store/restaurant and spend money on what actually -will- make them a profit. Some of them even offer free charging as a sort of retail “loss leader”.

For the most part, gas stations are to closely tied to Big Oil to do anything that would undermine that cash cow.

Get Real,

There are exceptions though. Do a search for DCFCs in PA and you will see there are five Sheetz stations with them. Considering how many Sheetz stations there are in the south-east it would be nice to see this catch on.

You have found the exception that proves the rule. By that I mean that by finding only a few stations like that, you’re demonstrating that the rest of the stations aren’t like that.

For mass market rollout, we’ll need more than just a few outliers.

In the Nashville area, there are 7 Mapco gas stations with either Blink or nrg eVGo CHAdeMO units. Many of these locations have a sub-shop in them, making it a handy stop to grab a snack and some power.

The downside is that Blink has let one of their two Mapco locations fall into disrepair.

http://gizmodo.com/5901517/gas-stations-dont-really-make-money-on-gas

That’s why gas-only stations are pretty much extinct. My point … any other lure to attract drivers (including EV charging) will probably be welcome once there are enough EVs to justify it.

Really hoping the assumption is correct that the e-Golf will be offered nationwide soon. I’ll be in the market for another vehicle this fall and would love to consider it.

The other option is to purchase it WAY out of state and embark on a “can I make it half way across the U.S. in an 80-mile range BEV with the current charging infrastructure?” adventure.

Wouldn’t you have an issue with getting it serviced when you got it home, too? Yes, EVs are expected to need less service, but not no service.

Or do you expect every VW dealer would be able to service the thing?

FWIW, I connected with an e-Golf owner on Twitter and asked him what the service interval was. When he picked up his car they told him 60K miles or 2 years…

Not a major concern of mine at the moment.

I wasn’t thinking so much about scheduled service as repairs. Of course, one hopes not to need repair, but even the most reliable vehicles sometimes have problems. Or accidents.

And in case it’s not obvious, I’m in the early stages of mulling the same thing, although I’d be more likely to try to get the car flat-bedded cross-country than to attempt the road trip.

Gosh, mighty Volkswagen is committed to spending about what upstart Tesla Motors spent to build approximately 73 SuperCharger stations (each with an estimated cost of between $100k and $175k). At last count, Tesla had 151 SuperChargers in the USA, 121 in Europe, and 61 in Asia.

As usual, the big boys among the legacy auto makers are playing follow-the-leader with Tesla. But they’re not trying very hard.

“The company will also invest to support installation of charging stations in certain dealer locations.”
———

No. Do not put them at dealerships.

I agree. Chargers at dealerships are not part of the US charging infrastructure unless they are located at a publicly accessible location that doesn’t get blocked off, and everybody can charge there.

If they are like most dealership chargers, they will be part of Volkswagen’s US Car Sales Infrastructure.

It would have been a whole lot easier if they would have supported CHAdeMO so they could use the L3 infrastructure thats already here rather than have to roll out yet a 3rd nationwide quick charge network.

Would also be nice if they’d stick the charge port in the front of the car instead of everyone always having to back in to every spot.

How many 135+ kW chargers is Volkswagen building to compete with Tesla Superchargers?

None.

“Each fast charging site will have up to 2 50 kW DC fast chargers”

“CHAdeMO will be incorporated into many of the sites with 50 kW chargers”

All “Fast Chargers” are not created equal. At some point we’re going to have to have a more meaningful term for “fast”.

Expect to see a lot of superlatives added to the label “fast” as charging gradually gets faster and faster: Super, ultra, hyper… maybe even “transwarp”. 🙂

No government money should be thrown away installing DC chargers less than 100 kW. It’s a complete waste of money. If Nissan/BMW/VW want to use their own money to install ridiculous CHAdeMO or CCS < 100kW, then of course… it's their money.

In 2018 with a 50-60 kWh+ battery, do you really want to charge at half rate with a 50kW CHAdeMO/CCS? Of course not. So that $25-75k per plug is going to be a waste of money, unless they specifically put in EVSE's that have transformers and wiring sized for 100kW and the EVSE's are expandable to 100kW. But of course, that's rarely happening.

Nissan/VW/BMW/GM could help by pushing 80A J1772, a standard that will be useful even with 140 kWh battery packs to charge overnight at places like hotels.

For road trips I completely agree that anything below 100 kW is not going to work very well (and even 120 kW superchargers only work well if they are located in a place where you don’t mind spending half an hour).

But if you just want to allow commuting then even a 6 kW L2 charger at an apartment building, overnight parking garage, or office park will work just fine for the vast majority of people. Heck, since I moved closer to work even an overnight 1.4 kW L1 charge in my garage is more than enough to cover my 26 mile roundtrip commute and reach the nearest supercharger along every route I’d care to drive on the weekends.

But if VW is simply going to roll out a bunch of 6 kW chargers at dealerships, fast food restaurants, and convenience stores then I agree they are completely wasting their time and money.

This is all very interesting… when they say they are deploying 100 fast chargers, does this mean 100 fast chargers, 5 per location, in 20 locations?

IN the press release, it seemed as though VW was trying to prime the pump a bit and get others to pay for it.

This is already the case in NY State, as other state taxpayers pick up 1/2 of the bill for businesses to install charging equipment, (thank you fellow NY tax payers, whether this is being done with your best wishes or not, hehe).

So what is the expense to the EV driver for these things. The installation of the charging station may be ‘free’, but they didn’t quite say its USE would be free-of-charge.

Well, not to throw cold water on this, but that Press Release seemed to be actually less than meets the eye, such as stating that “customers may puchase evses from Bosch”.

I believe customers, at least GM owners and other ‘partners’, can purchase Bosch sponsored equipment.

Whoopdedoo….. Clipper Creek has a slightly smaller model for $55 cheaper.

California and Washington, of course will get the lion’s share of these things, but those of us near the east coast but 500 miles away from the I-95 corridor will benefit little.

100- 25 kw chargers is still an added 2,500 kw of availability for customers.

Not to totally damn them with faint praise, at least they are not saying that DIESEL VEHICLES are the ‘green’ way forward any longer, especially since their older ones have been banned in parts of Paris and London.

Man, you guys are over-thinking a problem again.

Here’s the answer: Chain of brothels + DCFCs called “Superplug”.

The advertising writes itself.

Wonder if these will all be in California ?

VW has EV, at least they have no clutch problems… LOL!
Witnessed 2 commercial VW vehicles to today with clutch problems (clutches that will not completely disengage to allow a smooth shift or select reverse with out gear grinding)

The German automobile industry is expert at using government money for its own purpose. They have received billions to develope alternative drivetrains and have been doing so for decades. The result is not very impressive.
Right now, the German government subsidizes a fast charging network (CCS only), but the fast chargers are predominantly located at the dealers of the german car brands selling EV’s.
As Joerg Sommer says, part of this money is for chargers at VW dealer locations. I suggest insideev.com asks mr. Sommer how the $10 million is divided between chargers at the dealer lots and those outside the dealer lots.

For those interested, the subsidized fast charging network in Germany can be found googling “SLAM Schnellladenetz”.

Actually the SLAM project is just getting started and no grants have been given yet. All chargers currently listed with SLAM are privately funded and some people are trying to get SLAM to either unlist chargers that are not fully public (some VW dealerships only allow VW cars to charge) or force them to make them public. Not sure if that will work or not.

I read the SLAM project started January 2014, but it makes sense that non-public chargers are excluded from a (partially) publicly funded project. Actually, I’d be very impressed by the German government if they stand up against this kind of misuse of government money.

Its a similiar situation here. Tesla buyers pay a $2000 premium to get Supercharger access, which is currently free, but I have the nagging suspicion that $2000 per car doesn’t cover all of tesla’s capital and operating expenses, but ZEV credits (zero emission) end up so that Tesla gets more money from the various gov’ts than the $2000 they get per car, but then that’s only a supposition on my part and I (and SVEN who also posts here) would love a financial supercharger analysis to see whether these ultimately make a profit or exist as a ‘goodwill contruct’ for the company in the furtherance of EV’s in generneral and Teslas in particular.

All these idiots are going to spend millions on 50kw DC fast chargers that can charge an 80 mile EV in 40 minutes just in time for 200 mile cars who are going to be saying “WTF 2 hours? Quick charge?”

They better start thinking about how they are going to quickly charge 200mi+ range vehicles and build THAT network… kudos Tesla.