By on April 17, 2017

CCS Charging pic

A large part of Volkswagen’s emissions scandal penance involves a gargantuan investment into eco-centric technologies and the development of the United States’ electric vehicle infrastructure. The latter should come by way of its Electrify America subsidiary and four $500 million investments separated by four 30-month periods over the next 10 years.

We now know exactly how VW intends to roll out the green carpet with its court-mandated funding.

The money will be divided between urban and highway charging projects with plenty left over for its public education and environmental awareness campaigns. Forty percent of the total sum will be devoted to California, which will likely have the most use for charging stations, but the rest of the country will also see VW-built EV plug-in ports of up to 320 kilowatts — a number that surpasses even Tesla’s Supercharger wattage by a wide margin.

According to, the initial investments involve Volkswagen spending $120 million on California’s EV charging infrastructure, with an additional $250 million set aside for other states. Of the total, $255 million would be used to construct roughly 300 of the extremely quick charging locations along dozens of interstate and regional highways. The sites are anticipated to house five chargers each but, like Tesla’s 145 kilowatt network, higher volume areas could see stations with as many as ten.

Some locations are expected to finish construction next year, with 200 completed stations expected by mid-2019 — and another 90 or so in 2020. All of the highway chargers are being designed to support a peak charging rate of 150 kilowatts with many reaching 320 kilowatts. That would make long-distance travel in future electric vehicles far more feasible and mimics the joint venture VW currently has in Europe with BMW, Daimler, and Ford. With the exception of Tesla’s Superchargers, most U.S. EV charging points only support between 25 and 50 kilowatts. While not every electric-driven model currently on the road can support that much of a peak charge, some already do and future vehicles absolutely will.

In total, California is expected to see at least 50 highway stations, while the rest of the country will receive a minimum of 240 carefully spaced locations. There will also be another 650 sites in and around metropolitan areas offering 50 to 150 kW charging points. The majority of these will be targeted at shopping centers, parking garages, and places of business. Around 350 of these spaces are slated for California, which has a much higher population of electric vehicle owners.

[Image: Volkswagen Group]

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32 Comments on “Volkswagen Reveals Plans for Court-ordered EV Charging Network...”

  • avatar

    They’ll hook these up so that they steal electricity from their neighbors. :-p

  • avatar

    Whooo Volkswagen, way to make a tasty pie out of a steaming mound of your own poo!

    (Seriously though, this is a nice move on their part.)

    We shall see about execution and also useful electric models from VAG, but I’m unnecessarily optimistic.

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      It’s not a ‘nice move’, actually; their diesel settlement is forcing it, like when we were made to apologize for hitting our siblings.

      • 0 avatar

        They had to do it anyway, now it will have a little VW logo on the hundreds of charging stations, and make you think of them every time you see one – whether or not you have a EV or a firm opinion of VW. Marketing win.

        • 0 avatar
          Matt Posky

          I’m unsure if they’re legally permitted to use their logo on the charging points. I know the court forbid it from using any branding on its public education and environmental awareness campaigns — it might apply to this as well.

          • 0 avatar

            Maybe so; I think it’s ambiguous the way this part of the agreement was worded and…maybe maybe.

  • avatar
    Car Guy

    It doesn’t seem right that the money is being directed into California’s pet EV projects. Any fines should go directly into the hands of vehicle owners who were defrauded.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    It smacks of politics, thanks to CARB.

    CA is already awash in charging stations, and this will only add more where they aren’t needed.

    The map at the link is helpful:

    Between the coasts, only one complete road will be electrified from the looks of it.

    • 0 avatar

      Agreed. When the folks in charge of planning where the EVSE’s go realize they have a bounty of cash to spend, they will spend it unwisely.

      The same happened with the EV Project and government funds. At least they had the responsibility to analyze usage as part of the study which revealed they made some boneheaded decisions of where to place the public charging stations. Most of the stations installed were woefully underutilized.

      Rather than underwrite and encourage locations such as workplace charging or hotels they decided to place units close to retail outlets. They reasoned that on average people drive further to go recreational shopping than they do to go to work, therefore since its further, place the units at recreational shopping locations. Using this single metric may have seemed like the right choice, except they ignored the fact people have to drive to work most days of the week, whereas recreational shopping is an optional activity done much less frequently.

      Retail location “Grand Openings” generated a positive public image. Local celebrities and government officials lined up for the photo opp. Installing in a private parking lot or garage doesn’t have the the same cachet.

      Expect to see many “Grand Openings” in CA and elsewhere.

      • 0 avatar

        With the new generation of EVs and even some of the present ones, workplace charging really isn’t the way to go. Range is good enough now that workplace charging isn’t a big issue. I’m making a 100 mile round trip to a work location today. I have charging there, but the level 2 charge I’m getting at breakfast is all I need to top up enough to make the whole trip. Sometimes I’ll charge there occasionally, but usually I can skip it if I want. If I wasn’t in a 100+ mile and instead in a 200+ mile EV, I wouldn’t even bother charging even in sub-zero weather. With my 300-mile Mission E, given the distances I’ve covered in the last ten years, I doubt I’ll ever bother with a public charger. I’ve been flying for distances over 150 miles with just one day where I went 230 miles in the Leaf.

    • 0 avatar

      It’s quite valuable to actual EV adoption to have some density in an area. So far the only charging vendor (if you can call them that) to get this right is Tesla. Counter example: the West Coast Electric Highway. It’s well located, and at least roughly cost competitive with gasoline, but each stop only has one DC charger. So if that charger is out of service or in use, any planning you’ve done is for naught and you might end up chilling your heels for hours instead of taking a twenty minute pause. In comparison Tesla has at least four Superchargers at every site, so outside of a few very busy locations you’re almost guaranteed for the to be an available and working charger. There are a few other brand sites like this, but they are too rare in any given area to really provide support for EV owners. At least one state being really built out could provide a base to start from, allowing for incremental adds from there to an eventual nationwide network. It’s not perfect, but with limited resources I’d much rather see fewer sites with more chargers than the other way around. (As a bonus a lot of the fixed costs such as permitting and site prep are spread across multiple chargers, making each installed charger less expensive.)

  • avatar

    That doesn’t look like it will connect to my Volt or someone’s Leaf. Is VW launching the Euro standard connector that only they will have?

  • avatar

    “Forty percent of the total sum will be devoted to California”

    Because Kali is 40% of the nation of course. /s

    “which will likely have the most use for charging stations”

    Shenanigans. The number one region with the nation’s worse traffic is:

    1. Washington DC-VA-MD
    > Annual hours lost per commuter: 82
    > Total annual hours of delay: 204.4 million
    > Annual cost per commuter: $1,834
    > Total congestion cost: $4.6 billion

    Followed by

    2. Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, CA
    > Annual hours lost per commuter: 80
    > Total annual hours of delay: 622.5 million
    > Annual cost per commuter: $1,711
    > Total congestion cost: $13.3 billion

    3. San Francisco-Oakland, CA
    > Annual hours lost per commuter: 78
    > Total annual hours of delay: 146.0 million
    > Annual cost per commuter: $1,675
    > Total congestion cost: $3.1 billion

    4. New York-Newark, NY-NJ-CT
    > Annual hours lost per commuter: 74
    > Total annual hours of delay: 628.2 million
    > Annual cost per commuter: $1,739
    > Total congestion cost: $14.7 billion

    5. San Jose, CA
    > Annual hours lost per commuter: 67
    > Total annual hours of delay: 104.6 million
    > Annual cost per commuter: $1,422
    > Total congestion cost: $2.2 billion

    Logically the lion’s share of stations should be between NY-NJ-CT, LA-LB-Anaheim, and DC-VA-MD in terms of traffic (and thus pollution) costs.

    “but the rest of the country will also see VW-built EV plug-in ports of up to 320 kilowatts — a number that surpasses even Tesla’s Supercharger wattage by a wide margin.”

    Will these be compatible with other makes/models? Who pays for the electricity? Will this electricity be carbon neutral?

    • 0 avatar

      28, which would you rather make vanish without a trace: CUVs or EVs?

      “Both” is not an option for the purposes of this inquiry.

      • 0 avatar

        Easily, the CUV.

        I see the hybrid as a valid long term category/type with the pure EV being nothing more than a novelty short of significant advances in battery technology (which also would benefit hybrids).

        • 0 avatar

          Wow, I thought it’d be EVs because of the unarguable government favoritism given them.

          • 0 avatar

            I do find them a tad ridiculous, especially when Evil Diesel™ averages a tad over 81 mpg in an economy car. Evil diesel™ also does not require nickel-metal hydride batteries or use up REs (rare earths).

            But here is the thing, USG, and the mainstream public, have hated diesel since the GM disasters of the early 80s. Manbearpig or no, your betters have determined you’re not allowed to have cheap reliable transportation which can achieve 81mpg without the billions in electric infrastructure needed (not to mention the tens of billions of infrastructure dollars already needed here which are poured into MIC or stupid zio wars of conquest).

            The happy medium is the hybrid, it allows for dramatic mileage while still giving users range options and added longevity vs conventional ICE.

            I think building these battery charging stations is a foolish waste of money. Using data cited from the article, 300 stations of 5 or 10 stations each equates to charging stations which cost $170,000 – $85,000 USD apiece (300*5=1500/255000000, 300*5=3000/255000000). So at the high end, you’ve created capacity for 3,000 to charge at any given time out of a market which sold 17.5 million units in 2015. Oh wait our betters need a place to recharge their toys. Guess it’s Forward Soviet!



          • 0 avatar

            Just give me displacement and let me die happy in a boiling tidal wave.

          • 0 avatar

            “I think building these battery charging stations is a foolish waste of money.”

            Yeah, me too.

            Obviously a punitive measure inflicted on VW by the EPA of the last administration for the dieselgate scandal and circumventing the emissions test.

            Maybe Trump will put a stop to it. Trump will sign a double-barreled EO tomorrow in WI that will affect both immigration AND employment.

            Fewer H1Bs next year, and more Hire American and Buy American.

            Should be good.

          • 0 avatar

            “Just give me displacement”


            Yup, displacement IS nice, but I love the finesse of those all-aluminum, 32-valve, DOHC, 5.7L V8 Toyota Tundra engines.

            The Rolex of mass-production V8 engines.

          • 0 avatar


            While I agree Diesel cars do not require the use of Nickel-Metal Hydride batteries, neither do the vast majority of BEV’s these days either.

            Your happy medium of the hybrid often does use Nickle-Metal Hydride batteries.

            I find your reasoning the inverse of the point you attempted to make.

  • avatar

    Who cares?
    I’m bored with all these silly cars.
    Sedans are so … 20th Century.,.. so non-relevant.

    Got it, TTAC?
    In fact, I recommend you change your name “The Truth About Trucks”, TTAT….

    So, let the comentariat have at it!


  • avatar

    To the point about battery materials. Lithium is by far the most-utilized material for batteries of all kinds in the developed world now. But OMG is it toxic. Mining nickel really doesn’t carry any more environmental or human hazard than any other conventional mining. Lithium mining is laden with DEATH. Liquid, salty death.

    Growing evidence suggests that mining lithium does far more environmental harm than is mitigated by driving BEVs and hybrids.

    This is from The Ohio State University’s Engineering School’s primer on battery tech.

    This article is from KitCo, a precious metals investment advisor site.

    And then there’s the the geopolitics of lithium. In the same way that dependence on foreign oil is thought to supply at least some cash to at least some crazies who want to do us harm, most of the world’s lithium is in China and Leftist South American countries like Bolivia who tend to see prosperous, Anglophone countries as obstacles to their own prosperity. So getting dependent on them for lithium may be sub-optimal.

    This 2010 article from The New Yorker is a little dated, but still relevant, well-written, and surprisingly apolitical.

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