If Volkswagen was not under a court order to install EV charging facilities across America, would it do so anyway? Probably, if its plan to roll out EV chargers in China is any indication. Bloomberg reports the company has formed a new business entity with FAW, one of its Chinese business partners, to build a fast charging network in China. Each company will own 30% of the new venture, with two other unnamed companies owning the remaining 40%.
Last November, Volkswagen claimed its new charging network would permit drivers to add 250 miles of range in just 15 minutes. It expects to invest over $4 billion in charging infrastructure and smart car technology worldwide this year.
The new Chinese joint venture is expected to spend $1 billion this year and more in coming years. Sources tell Bloomberg that SAIC Motor Corp., another VW partner in China, is ready to join the EV charging imitative and that more Chinese auto and battery makers are expected to participate in the future.
China is targeting sales of 2 million new energy vehicles by 2020 as part of a push to reduce air pollution and lower its dependence on imported oil. A new EV credit program went into effect January 1 that requires all manufacturers that sell cars in the country to make 10% of their total sales a new energy vehicle or buy credits from companies that exceed their quota. Battery electric vehicles earn more credits than plug in hybrids.
China is also reducing the size of the EV incentives it offers on short range EVs in an effort to encourage companies to build longer range electric cars. But before EV sales in China can increase significantly, the charging equipment needed to keep them charged up and ready to drive must be in place.
China is the largest new car market the world has ever seen, even after sales were down almost 6% last year, Which is why every auto manufacturer on Earth is scrambling to capture a piece of the sales pie. But when it comes to chargers, most of them are hanging back, hoping someone else will do the heavy lofting. Have you heard of any American manufacturer spending ten cents on charging networks? And they wonder why no one wants to buy their electric cars.