By on October 5, 2018

electrify-america-ev-charging-station, Electrify America

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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15 Comments on “VW’s Electrify America Plots Second Batch of EV Charging Stations, Plug-in Propaganda...”


  • avatar
    Wheatridger

    “Propaganda,” really? Webster’s’ : “the spreading of ideas, information, or rumor for the purpose of helping or injuring an institution, a cause, or a person.” That’s pretty broad, and would cover every advertising or PR effort in history. “Ulterior motive” would be a better accusation, except some readers might not look up the word. Regardless, how could you ever separate the three goals you mentioned: informing about EVs, improving charging facilities, and helping drive ZEV adoption? They’re mutually supportive, three legs of a stool.

    But around here, who cares? As long as there’s VW to kick around. And clickbait pays, right?

  • avatar
    sportyaccordy

    So these chargers are not VW exclusive, correct? I hope all auto manufacturers are working on building out a universal charging network.

    • 0 avatar
      Fred

      Exactly what I wanted to comment on. There is no reason for separate standards except pride.

      • 0 avatar
        mcs

        The EA chargers I use have dual heads. One for CCS and the other for CHAdeMO. CCS charger plugs look like they might be easier to use. CHAdeMO connectors can sometimes be tricky to lock into the port on the car.

        Charging stations can also support different charge rates. A 300 kW Porsche can charge at 50 kW stations at 50 kW. 50 kW cars can charge at 300 kW stations at a 50 kW rate.

  • avatar
    Land Ark

    I just visited the EA website and none of the charging stations are shown correctly on their map. The one we worked on with them is a hundred miles away from where the pin is shown. I looked at a few others and the pin landed at some poor sap’s house in some cases.
    This seems like it would be a problem if someone were to rely on that map to find a place to charge their car.

  • avatar
    TrailerTrash

    “…its parent company’s agreement with the U.S. government.”
    the us government would not sign an agreement that places most of these in one state, giving the consumers an advantage there vs other american’s, would it?

    should the plan even allowed for the payment to an industry in competition with another.

    after all, it wasn’t the petroleum industry that did the crime.

  • avatar
    MoparRocker74

    I change the channel whenever these sappy propaganda ads come up. An electric car will NEVER defile my garage.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    California may have the most EVs, but its poor don’t drive them. Placing chargers in poor communities will do nothing for EV adoption by their residents, unless they’re buying second-hand EVs and live in an apartment building that VW installs a charger into. Otherwise, most people charge at home.

  • avatar
    deanst

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

  • avatar
    vehic1

    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?

    • 0 avatar
      Hummer

      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.


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