Volkswagen's Electrify America Buying Tesla Hardware for EV Charging Stations

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky
volkswagens electrify america buying tesla hardware for ev charging stations

Volkswagen has agreed to spend $2 billion improving the United States’ adolescent charging infrastructure over the next 10 years as part its diesel-related agreement with federal regulators. As part of that arrangement, the automaker established Electrify America as the subsidiary responsible for most of the leg work.

While it invests heavily in the nation’s EV charging network and drops a few million here and there to raise ecological awareness and encourage the adoption of zero-emission vehicles, it also has to be careful to remain brand neutral.

None of Electrify America’s programs can be seen as catering to VW, resulted in some interesting bedfellows. Case in point, Electrify America just announced plans to install Tesla Inc battery storage packs at more than 100 charging stations across the U.S.

The goal, according to VW’s subsidiary, is to draw energy from the grid during off-peak hours (when it’s cheaper) and store it in Tesla’s storage units to be used by customers later.

“If you pass the demand charge onto the customer in a high-demand charge market [it could cost anywhere from $70 to $110 to fully charge one vehicle],” Electrify America’s chief operating officer, Brendan Jones, told Reuters in an interview. “If you did that, obviously nobody would buy an electric vehicle.”

Electrify America plans to install the battery packs in areas of the United States with higher concentrations of electric vehicles, specifically the coastal regions. Jone estimates the company will have 484 charging stations built across America by June, adding that Electrify America is discussing the roll-out of additional battery storage units with regulators for its next round of court-appointed investments. These will likely include more of the firm’s 350-kW fast chargers and additional sites in 42 states.

“Our stations are offering some of the most technologically advanced charging that is available,” Giovanni Palazzo, chief executive officer of Electrify America, said as part of the company’s corporate announcement. “With our chargers offering high power levels, it makes sense for us to use batteries at our most high demand stations for peak shaving to operate more efficiently. Tesla’s Powerpack system is a natural fit given their global expertise in both battery storage development and EV charging.”

[Images: Volkswagen Group]

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2 of 17 comments
  • Claytori Claytori on Feb 04, 2019

    I have some experience with commercial electricity accounts. The "distribution" charge is based on the peak demand in a month. If the peak can be reduced then there is a substantial reduction in this charge. Think of it as a rental charge for the power line capacity required to meet the customer's peak demand. Using a battery would enable this reduction by evening out demand.

  • HotPotato HotPotato on Feb 11, 2019

    What's this got to do with being brand-neutral? It's not like VW is installing Tesla-specific Superchargers. They're installing the same chargers they always do. They're just supplementing some of them with batteries that can suck up power at cheap off-peak rates for distribution later, and the company that makes the best batteries for that purpose happens to be Tesla. (Clickbait for the jump maybe?)

  • ToolGuy VW (marque not group) and Tesla very nearly switched positions on a YTD basis.
  • RHD Inexpensive gasoline appears to be a thing of the past. ILO is correct - we have enough sunlight, wind and emerging ocean wave energy to power the entire country and then some. Clean air is nice, and being free of the whims of OPEC, geopolitics and hugely profitable oil companies will do all of us a world of good.
  • Raymond Segura Can you tell me where I can get the rear bumper for 69 impala?
  • Art Vandelay some of the crazy numbers I get. Percentages look bigger with any fluctuations with low volume makes and brands leaving the market will see massive month over month changes. But what’s with Buick? I still see the occasional ad on TV and yet the drop is disproportionate even compared to all the other GM brands.
  • Master Baiter "There is no mandate for consumers to buy EVs, not in any country or state. That’s made up."Right. And you are not mandated to purchase a toilet that only uses 1.6 gallons/flush. You could choose to not have a toilet--just go in the woods, like the bears do.