Volkswagen Group rolls out charging infrastructure updates

29 April 2022

charging infrastructure

Volkswagen (VW) Group wants to be the market leader in the electric-vehicle (EV) segment in Europe and is now simplifying charging tariffs for customers across the continent to increase transparency. These rates will be available to VW, Cupra, SEAT, and Skoda customers, who will be charged fixed kilowatt-hour prices when using VW’s public charging points.

VW’s European charging network is spread over 3,000 locations and consists of 310,000 EV charging points, including 10,000 fast-chargers. Soon, customers will be able to choose between three tariffs, each coming with fixed prices per kilowatt hour. Prices may vary from country to country. VW is also planning a partner programme and the launch of ‘Plug & Charge’, which will allow a vehicle to start charging as soon as it is plugged in.

VW’s in-house brand Elli, a charging and energy provider, is an integral part of the new offer. The carmaker said its new tariffs would offer beneficial conditions for Ionity fast-chargers. Ionity – a joint venture of VW Group, BMW, Ford, Hyundai, and Mercedes-Benz – aims to build a high-power EV charging network in Europe.

Electric age

‘In the electric age, charging and energy are of the utmost strategic importance,’ said Thomas Schmall, VW group board member for technology. ‘For many customers who consider an electric car, a home charging option is still a must. We cannot be satisfied with that limitation.’

The German carmaker is heavily investing in the expansion of the charging network, last year pouring €700 million into Ionity, along with other shareholders including BlackRock’s Global Renewable Power. Charging infrastructure is a key part of VW’s ‘new auto’ strategy, which also focuses on software development, autonomous driving, battery technology and recycling, as well as mobility services.

‘As part of the new auto strategy, we are consistently working with our Group brands towards the goal of becoming the market leader in e-mobility,’ said Hildegard Wortmann, VW group board member for sales. ‘To this end, we are building a complete ecosystem for our customers, which also includes the key topic of charging. We want to offer them a fully integrated, comfortable, and all-round positive charging experience.’

Plug & Charge

By 2025, the carmaker and its partners are planning for around 45,000 high-power charging points in Europe, China, and the US. Its EV charging product range also includes its own wallbox and fast-charging stations, and green electricity tariffs.

Part of VW’s latest campaign is a selected partner programme with charging park operators, which will highlight charging stations in the EV navigation system. This is scheduled to start later this year, with the programme offering EV drivers a clear overview of the best charging options on their routes.  

Additionally, VW will launch Plug & Charge from mid-2022. This charging function will be activated via an EV software update, allowing a vehicle to identify itself at charging stations and automatically start the charging process. The Plug & Charge function has found numerous partners, including Ionity, Aral, bp, E.On, and Iberdrola.

VW is hoping that these efforts combined will offer customers a better charging experience by focussing on price transparency, network expansion, and charging comfort.