Volkswagen Expands Charging Infrastructure, Previews Mobile Charger

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A decade ago, Elon Musk knew instinctively that people wouldn’t buy electric cars if charging them was a hassle, and so he created the Tesla Supercharger network. Today, Tesla has more chargers in more locations than any other company in the world.

Volkswagen is committed to transforming itself from a maker of conventional cars to a manufacturer of EVs. In a press release this week, Thomas Ulbrich, a member of the management board for the Volkswagen brand said, “We need significantly more charging points in Germany and Europe if electric vehicles are to establish themselves quickly.”

Volkswagen EV Charger
Credit: Volkswagen

The company is putting its money where its mouth is when it comes to charging infrastructure. It is a major supporter of the Ionity charging network in Europe, Electrify America and Electrify Canada in North America, and the CAMS network in China. In addition, it has installed a total of 1,200 chargers at 10 company locations in Germany, many of which are accessible to members of the general public. By the end of 2021, it expects that number to grow to over 2,000 charging points, some with up to 300 kW of power. In the near future, every Volkswagen dealer in Germany will have at least one AC charger with 11 kW power and one DC charger with 22 kW power available to all EV drivers.

ID. Charger Wall Boxes Selling Like Hot Cakes

EV owners do most of their charging at home. Volkswagen offers two residential wall box chargers — the ID. Charger Connect (€599) and the ID. Charger Pro (€849). Both are eligible for a government sponsored incentive of up to €900 for the purchase and installation of a residential charger. Elli, Volkswagen’s home charging division, has been handling more than 10,000 wall charger orders a month for the past several months. Despite the high demand, orders are being filled in about two weeks.

Mobile Charging Robot

Volkswagen mobile charger
Credit: Volkswagen

It was a year ago this week that we reported on Volkswagen’s mobile charging robot. Instead of driving your car to a charger, why not let the charger come to the car? It’s the perfect solution for EV owners who do not have access to a dedicated charger where they live.

Now the company has had a year to further develop its cute little robot charger that looks like it could have stepped out of Pixar’s delightful Cars movies. “A ubiquitous charging infrastructure is and remains a key factor in the success of electric mobility. Our charging robot is just one of several approaches, but is undoubtedly one of the most visionary,” says Thomas Schmall, CEO of Volkswagen Group Components in a press release.

Not only is the mobile charger a boon for drivers, it opens the door to new revenue streams for parking lot owners. “Establishing a charging infrastructure is a fundamental prerequisite for this. But it needs to be demand-led and efficient,” says Schmall. “Our developments do not just focus on customers’ needs and the technical prerequisites of electric vehicles. They also consider the economical possibilities they offer potential partners.”

The mobile chargers will enable the operators of parking bays and underground car parks to quickly and simply “electrify” every parking space using the mobile charging robot. That can reduce the amount of construction needed to install charging equipment which in turn will reduce costs. The mobile robot, which is reliant on a vehicle to charger app, is now a pre-production prototype with sales to customers expected to begin in the first half of 2021. For more on how it works, check out the video below.


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Steve Hanley

Steve writes about the interface between technology and sustainability from his home in Florida or anywhere else The Force may lead him. He is proud to be "woke" and doesn't really give a damn why the glass broke. He believes passionately in what Socrates said 3000 years ago: "The secret to change is to focus all of your energy not on fighting the old but on building the new." You can follow him on Substack and LinkedIn but not on Fakebook or any social media platforms controlled by narcissistic yahoos.

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