Building electric cars is one thing, but getting people to buy them is something else entirely. One feature of electric cars that is unknown to those who drive conventional cars is they can charge up in the garage overnight. That way, owners start every day with a full battery charge. It’s like a minion snuck into your parking space every night and put a few gallons of gas in the tank. It means never having to visit a gas station again or using a public charger if your EV has enough range to cover your daily driving needs.
But to make it all work, you need a residential charger installed where you normally park your car. Lots of new car dealers in the US fail to mention that fact when they talk to customers about electric cars, which is a mistake. Assume a customer opts for a shiny new EV 5000 but has nowhere to plug it in. Chances are, that person is going to have a negative impression about driving an electric car right from the start, an impression that will be widely shared among friends and colleagues.
Volkswagen is taking the bull by the horns as it prepares to start selling its first ID.3 electric cars. It has begun offering a residential charger to its ID.3 customers.
[Note: Volkswagen calls an EV charger a wallbox. There is also a charger manufacturer called Wallbox. The two terms are easily confused and VW should be clearer. Nothing in the company’s latest press release indicates the Volkswagen residential charger is manufactured by Wallbox. Confused? It’s no wonder.]
“In the past, buying a wallbox was often a tiresome and long-winded exercise for customers. We want to change that and are offering a single-source solution for the ID. Charger – from purchase and installation through to commissioning,” says Peter Diekmann, account manager at Elli, the Volkswagen subsidiary responsible for the ID. Charger in a press release.
Three Versions Available
According to TechCrunch, there will be three versions of the ID. Charger, ranging in price from €399 to €849. Those prices don’t include the cost of installation. At the customers request, VW will hook them up (you should pardon the expression) with local electricians who will handle the task of installing the charger. All versions will have a charging capacity of up to 11 kilowatts, permanently mounted Type 2 charging cable, and integrated DC residual current protection. Only the base model is available at the present time. The other versions will be along later this year.
Thomas Ulbrich, the VW board member responsible for E-mobility, says, “Volkswagen is also setting new standards for charging in the volume segment. We will be building a complete charging network around the ID.3 over the coming months. The ID. Charger gets things rolling. Further charging services will follow. In the future, charging an electric car is to be as clear and simple as charging a smartphone.”
The ID. Charger Connect and ID. Charger Pro will be fully connected and easily managed via a smartphone app. Customers will be able to control the charging processes including remote maintenance, manage access via a charge card, and get regular software updates. The ID. Charger Pro also offers an integrated electricity meter that can bill electricity costs directly to individual drivers. “The ID. Charger doesn’t just look smart, it is smart, too. No other wallbox on the market offers so much high tech at such an attractive price,” says Martin Roemheld, head of mobility services at Volkswagen.
EV Charging Help For Apartment Dwellers
Part of building a charging network is providing access to chargers for people who live in apartment buildings and condominiums. With input from Volkswagen, the German government is considering legislation to make it easier for apartment owners and tenants to install an EV charger at their parking space. Thomas Ulbrich says, “The right to install a private wallbox is important for the success of e-mobility. Both home owners and tenants in Germany can at last plan reliably. Moreover, this legislation also places an obligation on other European countries where similar regulations are needed for additional planning security.”
Getting an ID. Charger has another important benefit for German drivers — Volkswagen Naturstrom, the brand’s certified green electricity service that guarantees emission free electric car operation. In addition, drivers can use the We Charge charging service that provides access to almost 150,000 public charging points throughout Europe. For longer trips, they will have the use of the IONITY high-power charging network that covers most of Europe.
Volkswagen is looking at the total EV experience and trying to make it as smooth and effortless as possible for people to drive one of its electric cars. Gut gemacht!