Volkswagen ramps up fast-charging network with BP

03 May 2022


Volkswagen (VW) Group is heavily investing in its charging infrastructure and has partnered with BP to roll out fast-charging points for electric vehicles (EVs) in Europe. Both companies announced their strategic collaboration, having unveiled their first charging unit in Düsseldorf, Germany.

The partners are planning to make 4,000 charge points available in the next 24 months, both in Germany and the UK. Oil giant BP will integrate its charging network into the dashboards of VW brand models – including Skoda, Cupra, and SEAT – a function that will help drivers find their nearest EV charging points.      

Under the plans, up to 8,000 new charge points could be installed across Germany, UK, and other European countries by the end of 2024. VW and BP said that their strategic cooperation is aimed at supporting the adoption of electric vehicles across Europe as range anxiety is still weighing on demand.

The battery-based chargers are flexible and can be installed swiftly since they do not rely on high-power grid connections. VW’s Flexpole 150kW charging units feature two charge points, with 10 minutes of charging delivering up to 160km in range.

The EV chargers come with an integrated battery-storage system and can be directly connected to a low-voltage grid. This removes the need for a sub-station and additional construction, helping to cut down on installation times.

Fast-charging EV network

The charge-point locations will be included in the navigation and other in-car apps of VW brands and can also be found in the carmaker’s in-house brand Elli, a charging and energy provider. Drivers of any electric vehicle can use the new chargers as part of the BP and Aral pulse network.  

‘Investing in everything from software to batteries and charging is part of our strategy to make individual mobility safer, more convenient and fully climate neutral,’ said Herbert Diess, VW CEO. ‘The decarbonisation of Europe’s economy requires close collaboration across borders and sectors. We’re pleased to team up with bp to accelerate the rollout of the fast-charging network across Europe.’

BP is increasingly focussing on providing fast-charging stations to consumers, with the flexible battery-based chargers allowing the company to expand its charging network at key sites in Europe. The company plans to be net-zero by 2050 and recently took a stake in EV charging provider Digital Charging Solutions. The firm plans to grow its network of public EV charging points by 2030 to more than 100,000 globally.

‘EV charging is one of the key engines driving BP’s transformation to an integrated energy company,’ said Bernard Looney, BP CEO. ‘The opportunity is huge. This is a significant step-forward on our journey to accelerate the electrification of transport in Europe.’

VW and BP said they would pursue further opportunities to provide future solutions for lower-carbon mobility. The German carmaker is targeting for battery-electric vehicle (BEV) sales to achieve 70% by 2030. It wants to be the market leader in the EV segment in Europe and recently simplified charging tariffs for European customers to increase price transparency.

In the summer, VW will also launch Plug & Charge, allowing an EV to identify itself at charging stations and automatically start the charging process. The Plug & Charge function has found numerous partners, such as BP, Ionity, Aral, E.On, and Iberdrola.