We’ve all had the experience of plugging our phone in and having it display an error message with some lame excuse about why it can’t charge. Many of us have likely had a similar experience with an electric vehicle. However, the stakes are quite a bit higher when we’re talking about the electricity needed to charge an EV. A Ford F-150 Lightning owner discovered how serious charging can be when a recent trip to an Electrify America charging station went wrong.
Hyundai’s 2021 Kona Electric and Ioniq Electric now include 250 kWh of complimentary fast charging through Electrify America, with more than 2,400 ultra-fast chargers across the U.S. According to Electrify America, 96 percent of the population lives within a 120-mile radius of one of their chargers.
Electrify America, the organization formed as part of Volkswagen’s $2-billion penance to promote the spread of electric vehicles after the Dieselgate scandal, is touting a new EV-related icon it believes will be in service of its broader aspirations.
The company has launched an obligatory Change.org petition to get the Unicode Consortium to adopt an charging station emoji of its own design. Electrifiy America noted that the governing body rejected last year’s proposal, saying something needed to be put into place to that “represents the EV industry and the future of transportation.”
It also said it realized “the Unicode Consortium has a tough job to avoid overpopulating smartphone keyboards with endless emojis. However, we believe the Unicode solution of continuing to represent EV charging with a Gas Pump Emoji is not a forward-thinking approach.”
Volkswagen Group’s transition toward electric vehicles has been no secret. Since getting busted with software designed to defeat emissions testing five years ago, the manufacturer has trumpeted the merits of electrification at every opportunity. Still, some continue to wonder how an EV-dominant world will work, expressing concerns that peak charging hours could stress national energy grids past the breaking point.
One proposed solution is to use the connectivity available in modern cars to take power from the grid only when surplus energy is available, while feeding electricity back into it during peak draw hours. Michael Jost, VW’s head of product strategy, said this was something the automaker has been working on.
Roughly a year ago, Volkswagen subsidiary Electrify America announced a partnership with Walmart to help proliferate EV charging sites across the United States. Equal parts penance for VW’s illegal diesel shenanigans and shrewd business arrangement, the deal sought to establish plug-in points at 100 store locations in 34 states.
On Thursday, the companies announced the completion of 120 charging stations and signalled their intent to continue collaborating — citing future development programs in the District of Columbia and 46 U.S. states.
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.
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.
As part of its penance for pumping untold amounts of smog-causing pollutants into America’s air over the span of roughly six years, Volkswagen paid a steep price. Yes, there was the financial cost of the diesel scandal — a price tag topping $20 billion, covering fines, buybacks, repairs, etc. Then there was the shame, with VW execs issuing public apologies so frequently, you’d think they were congressmen.
As fines and public apologies aren’t that uncommon in the automotive sphere, it’s the third act that must really grind the gears of execs in Wolfsburg. The automaker now has to do something no self-respecting car company would ever do: It has to showcase another company’s products, and not in a bad light.
Volkswagen’s ongoing penance for its diesel-emission scandal includes a serious investment in to the United States’ EV charging infrastructure. But critics of the plan have previously suggested it might be a way for VW to capitalize on its corporate wrongdoing. The state of California wanted the German company to focus on disadvantaged communities while automakers worried VW might gain an early advantage in a competitive new market, especially if it could handpick the sites or partner with businesses.
It has been almost 10 months since those concerns were voiced and now Electrify America (a subsidiary of Volkswagen Group) has announced it will be partnering with Walmart to install electric charging stations at 100 stores in 34 states across America. That way you can help save the environment while you’re stocking up on plastic cups and single-serve coffee pods that will end up being dumped into the ocean.
Volkswagen Group has been a quite the busy bee when it comes to bolstering EV charging infrastructure. In addition to breaking ground on Europe’s new fast-charging network before the end of this year (with help from Daimler, BMW, and Ford), the brand’s Electrify America subsidiary is preparing to fulfill a court order that will force it to live up to its name.
A signification portion of VW’s emissions scandal penance involves investment into eco-centric technologies and the beefing up of the United States’ electric vehicle infrastructure. So, on Monday the company announced plans to install 2,800 EV charging stations in 17 of the largest U.S. cities by June of 2019.
As part of its emissions cheating penance, Volkswagen AG previously agreed to support clean vehicles by injecting a juicy $2 billion into green initiatives in the United States. A whopping $800 million of that sum was reserved for California. On Thursday, state legislators pressed the automaker to spend electric charging infrastructure funds in low-income areas, passing a bill included in a budget package supported by Governor Jerry Brown.
The reasoning behind forcing VW to install more charging stations in disadvantaged communities is twofold. First, and most obviously, is the fact that poorer neighborhoods typically don’t receive the same level of infrastructure advancement as affluent or high traffic areas. In fact, they’re probably the last place the state would bother installing EV charging stations. Secondly, it’s a good way to keep this punishment from becoming a business opportunity.
Criticism arose when rival automakers realized Volkswagen’s charging network could become profitable and give it an early advantage in a competitive new market, especially if it could handpick the sites.
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