Volkswagen’s New EV Charging Network Aims To Rival Tesla’s


Electrify America is the Volkswagen-bankrolled organization that exists to atone with regulators for the automaker’s diesel scandal, and it’s gearing up to install thousands of chargers across the United States in an effort that is expected eventually to outdo Tesla’s Supercharger network as the biggest vehicle-charging infrastructure buildout ever.

Volkswagen EV Charging

A Brand-Agnostic and (Mostly) Future-Proof Network

The network is being set up to be able to provide the charging speeds that new EVs will need for the next 10 years and beyond—in a brand-agnostic way, as required by the settlement. Electrify America said it will do the actual installations but use a range of charging hardware.

First comes the installation of more than 2800 Level 2 charging stations—capable of recovering 20 to 25 miles of range per hour for most EVs. They will be located at workplaces, apartments, and condos in 17 of the largest U.S. metro areas by 2019. Following that, on a somewhat longer timeline, is the installation—in California plus 38 other states—of more than 2000 Level 3 fast chargers that can recharge compatible vehicles most of the way in less than an hour.

While most of the fast chargers will be capable of charging to the CHAdeMO standard (used by the Nissan Leaf, the Kia Soul EV, and a few others) or to the CCS standard that’s becoming more widely used, many of the fast chargers will be capable of even speedier 150-kW CCS use—which many future models, such as the Audi e-tron and the Jaguar I-Pace, will be able to take advantage of.

To help manage the vast network, Electrify America is turning to the charging-technology company Greenlots, which has a dashboard to allow monitoring of charger health, use data, and maintenance needs. Through the interface, the VW company also in the future could take advantage of dynamic pricing and could manage charging speeds and grid loads.

Although the organization is still fine-tuning its installation plan, it’s aiming to get the majority in place by June 2019. Over a total of 10 years, Electrify America needs to spend $2 billion nationally, including $800 million in California, on infrastructure and awareness. And these projects are only part of the first $500 million, so you can bet there are plenty more chargers yet to come.