VW's Electrify America Plots Second Batch of EV Charging Stations, Plug-in Propaganda

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky
vws electrify america plots second batch of ev charging stations plug in propaganda

Volkswagen’s court-mandated subsidiary, Electrify America, has announced its second investment of $200 million into the nation’s electric vehicle charging infrastructure, and not a moment too soon. Plug-in car sales in the United States have already surpassed last year’s record of nearly 200,000 deliveries, thanks to Tesla’s rollout of the Model 3, and we’ve still got three months left to go.

Of course, it wouldn’t really matter if EV sales tanked in 2018 because VW is legally obliged to do this. There could have been a single, lonesome plug-in sale this year and Electrify America would still have to spend the same amount — as per its parent company’s agreement with the U.S. government. This time around, the goal is to improve charging infrastructure between cities while not ignoring major metropolitan areas. Cycle 2 will also focus primarily on California for the next 30 months, which is probably for the best. The state accounts for over half the country’s yearly EV sales.

“In developing our plan, we conducted a robust outreach process to solicit input and met with leaders in California communities, government and business to inform our decisions,” said Giovanni Palazzo, president and chief executive officer of Electrify America. “Our goal to establish one of the largest, most technologically advanced and customer-friendly charging networks in the U.S. remains. We want to demystify what it means to own and drive electric vehicles by making chargers more visible, more convenient, and more a part of the everyday lives of Californians across the state.”

That demystification comes via the firm’s education and awareness program, which serves to inform the citizenry about how electric vehicles function. However, there’s also a bit of propaganda thrown in there, as one of the campaign’s stated goals is “to help drive ZEV adoption.” But the brunt of Cycle 2 involves charging hardware.

Volkswagen will continue using the bulk of its money on further improving California’s network of fast charging stations. This will include building new sites connecting regional destinations, such as supporting EV travel to the Sierra Nevada communities and isolated destinations like Arizona’s Lake Havasu. There will also be more points built near major metropolitan areas along the coast and at specific high-volume bus depots.

The automaker plans to promote residential charging through an online tool that connects EV buyers with a range of home charging incentives and rebates already available in California. This will be tied into the California Air Resources Board’s “ One-Stop-Shop Pilot Project,” which is designed to inform low-income residents about clean transportation and mobility options and help nudge them toward purchasing a zero-emission vehicle via the board’s Low Carbon Transportation Equity Project. Those programs include everything from extending additional EV rebates to financial assistance packages for low-income and disadvantaged communities.

By extension, Electrify America will offer “no-money-down” residential chargers and installation, enabling buyers “who cannot or choose not to pay for charger installation at home.” The cost of installation will be incorporated into an adjustable monthly fee.

Additional Cycle 2 plans involve collaborating with transit operators to provide charging infrastructure at bus depots and layover points. This approach offers another means of serving disadvantaged and low-income populations who rely on public transportation, which was one of California’s big gripes with VW’s initial settlement. It didn’t want the automaker to turn its penance into profit and demanded it take a more active role in helping poorer communities gain access to EVs and charging. That ought to keep them busy too, as California has one of the highest rates of income inequality in the union.

Of course, this is another drop in Volkswagen’s $2 billion EPA settlement bucket. California is slated to receive $800 million of the settlement and be privy to most of Electrify America’s earlier plans. The rest of the settlement will go to remaining states.

[Image: Volkswagen Group]

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  • Deanst Deanst on Oct 05, 2018

    I think salmon-panted boy would be better off with the pedal-powered Audi. Those glutes won’t attract either sex (any sex?).

  • Vehic1 Vehic1 on Oct 05, 2018

    Bash California for "income inequality", but it's where LOTS of people want to live. Why don't they love West Virginia - with the now-mega-booming??? coal industry, and no pollution laws?

    • Hummer Hummer on Oct 06, 2018

      What? Have you ever been to West Virginia? It is absolutely breathtaking scenery; your as intelligent as a hammer if you think WV has no pollution laws. I'm glad you think your state is so great but I'll stay away from the middle age diseases infecting your cities, homeless population your states "vast wealth" cannot control, and of course the feces on side walks throughout your cities. I'll take $250k for a 3,000 sqft house and 3 acres of land with a $200k a year job here on the east coast. 5.5% state income tax and $2.63 a gallon fuel. Good luck with that in CA.

  • Keith Maybe my market's different. but 4.5k whack. Plus mods like his are just donations for the next owner. I'd consider driving it as a fun but practical yet disposable work/airport car if it was priced right. Some VAG's (yep, even Audis) are capable, long lasting reliable cars despite what the haters preach. I can't lie I've done the same as this guy: I had a decently clean 4 Runner V8 with about the same miles- I put it up for sale around the same price as the lower mile examples. I heard crickets chirp until I dropped the price. Folks just don't want NYC cab miles.
  • Max So GM will be making TESLAS in the future. YEA They really shouldn’t be taking cues from Elon musk. Tesla is just about to be over.
  • Malcolm It's not that commenters attack Tesla, musk has brought it on the company. The delivery of the first semi was half loaded in 70 degree weather hauling potato chips for frito lay. No company underutilizes their loads like this. Musk shouted at the world "look at us". Freightliners e-cascads has been delivering loads for 6-8 months before Tesla delivered one semi. What commenters are asking "What's the actual usable range when in say Leadville when its blowing snow and -20F outside with a full trailer?
  • Funky D I despise Google for a whole host of reasons. So why on earth would I willing spend a large amount of $ on a car that will force Google spyware on me.The only connectivity to the world I will put up with is through my phone, which at least gives me the option of turning it off or disconnecting it from the car should I choose to.No CarPlay, no sale.
  • William I think it's important to understand the factors that made GM as big as it once was and would like to be today. Let's roll back to 1965, or even before that. GM was the biggest of the Big Three. It's main competition was Ford and Chrysler, as well as it's own 5 brands competing with themselves. The import competition was all but non existent. Volkswagen was the most popular imported cars at the time. So GM had its successful 5 brands, and very little competition compared to today's market. GM was big, huge in fact. It was diversified into many other lines of business, from trains to information data processing (EDS). Again GM was huge. But being huge didn't make it better. There are many examples of GM not building the best cars they could, it's no surprise that they were building cars to maximize their profits, not to be the best built cars on the road, the closest brand to achieve that status was Cadillac. Anyone who owned a Cadillac knew it could have been a much higher level of quality than it was. It had a higher level of engineering and design features compared to it's competition. But as my Godfather used to say "how good is good?" Being as good as your competitors, isn't being as good as you could be. So, today GM does not hold 50% of the automotive market as it once did, and because of a multitude of reasons it never will again. No matter how much it improves it's quality, market value and dealer network, based on competition alone it can't have a 50% market share again. It has only 3 of its original 5 brands, and there are too many strong competitors taking pieces of the market share. So that says it's playing in a different game, therfore there's a whole new normal to use as a baseline than before. GM has to continue downsizing to fit into today's market. It can still be big, but in a different game and scale. The new normal will never be the same scale it once was as compared to the now "worlds" automotive industry. Just like how the US railroad industry had to reinvent its self to meet the changing transportation industry, and IBM has had to reinvent its self to play in the ever changing Information Technology industry it finds it's self in. IBM was once the industry leader, now it has to scale it's self down to remain in the industry it created. GM is in the same place that the railroads, IBM and other big companies like AT&T and Standard Oil have found themselves in. It seems like being the industry leader is always followed by having to reinvent it's self to just remain viable. It's part of the business cycle. GM, it's time you accept your fate, not dead, but not huge either.