Volkswagen and bp have today launched their strategic partnership that will boost the adoption of electric vehicles (EVs) across Europe, unveiling the first charger in Dusseldorf, Germany. The partnership brings together two of the leading global players in e-mobility who aim to transform access to EV charging in key European markets by rapidly building a fast charging network across Europe by 2024. In the first step of this cooperation, up to 4,000 additional fast charging points will be set up at petrol stations over the next 24 months. In Germany, these will be Aral filling stations, in the UK at bp locations. The second phase is to be completed by the end of 2024, by which time a total of 8,000 new fast-charging points will have been created – but this time not only in Germany and the UK, but also in other European countries.
Volkswagen announced the cooperation with bp last year as part of its ‘Power Day‘ – alongside other charging partnerships with Iberdrola in Spain and Enel in Italy. At that time, the goal of 8,000 charging points with at least 150 kW from the BP cooperation was already mentioned. The first charging point from this cooperation has now been opened in Düsseldorf. This is not a Hypercharger from Alpitronic, which Aral Pulse actually installs at its filling stations, but a VW- development. The HPC column, called “Flexpole”, has a charging power of up to 150kW, two charging points (CCS) and an integrated battery storage system. The latter makes it possible to connect the charging pole directly to an existing low-voltage grid – the peak power during a charging process is buffered from the battery, which then has to be recharged via low-voltage. According to VW, there is no need for a medium-voltage connection including a special transformer or costly construction work.
The integrated storage overcomes one of the biggest obstacles to the rapid expansion of fast-charging infrastructure in Europe – “the need for powerful grid connections”. However, VW leaves it open how scalable the solution is: for an HPC column at a petrol station, the storage solution with low voltage may be cheaper. Whether this also applies to larger locations with several charging stations is not mentioned.
The locations of the charging columns from the cooperation will be integrated both into the navigation systems and charging apps of the VW brands, but they will also become part of the Aral Pulse and BP Pulse network. This will allow all electric car drivers across brands to use the charging points at the familiar rates of the CPO or roaming partners.
Volkswagen, Europe’s largest vehicle maker, aims to achieve 70% battery electric vehicle sales by 2030, as part of its goal to become a company with a net carbon-neutral balance by 2050. The carmaker said it wants to invest around 400 million euros in charging infrastructure by 2025 and planned to deploy 18,000 fast charging points. bp’s ambition is to become a net zero company by 2050 or sooner, and to help the world get to net zero. Electrification is at the heart of bp’s convenience and mobility strategy, and it aims to grow its network of public EV charging points by 2030 to over 100,000 globally. Recently, bp announced to invest £1 billion on EV charging expansion in UK over 10 years and signed a multi-year deal with Tritium to acquire 1,000 fast chargers for the UK, Australian and New Zealand markets.
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