Volkswagen Group and bp have launched their strategic partnership that will see them quickly rolling out public rapid EV chargers across Europe, aiming to boost the adoption of electric vehicles in key European markets.
The partnership has unveiled its first Flexpole 150kW charging unit in Dusseldorf, Germany, and aims to build a rapid-charging network of up to 8,000 new charging points in the continent, by 2024.
Herbert Diess, Volkswagen’s chief executive officer, said: “Volkwagen has been pioneering the transformation to e-mobility across Europe. Today, we have the broadest offer of electric cars in the market and sold more EVs in the region than any other carmaker last year.”
“Investing in everything from software, to batteries and charging is part of our strategy to make individual mobility safer, more convenient and fully climate-neutral. The decarbonisation of Europe’s economy requires close collaboration across borders and sectors. We’re pleased to team up with bp to accelerate the rollout of the fast-charging network across Europe,” he said.
Emma Delaney, bp’s executive vice president customers & product said of the launch: “We are delighted to launch this partnership with VW. The flexible battery-based chargers will accelerate bp’s fast charging network roll-out at our well-located sites in Europe. We are planning up to 4,000 additional charge points in Germany and the UK in the near term – a turbo-boost for our fast-charging network in these countries.”
The new charging units, each of which feature two charge points, have an integrated battery storage system, thereby overcoming the need for high-powered grid connections, which were an obstacle to the rapid roll-out of rapid charging infrastructure in Europe.
They can be directly connected to a low voltage grid, which will significantly reduce installation times by removing the requirement for a dedicated substation and costly construction work. But they still provide rapid charging speeds of up to 150kW, covering 160km of driving in just 10 minutes, depending on the model of electric vehicle.
The plans will mean EV drivers will be able to charge in safe, well-lit stations with access to additional services such as food and drink for their journeys, as well as toilets.
Thomas Schmall, a member of the Board of Management of Volkswagen Group, and CEO of Volkswagen Group Components said: “As we promised at our Power Day, we are driving the expansion of charging infrastructure in Europe at high speed. Together with bp, we will bring thousands of fast-charging stations to life within a very short time.”
“Rapid expansion of the charging network is crucial now. To make that happen, our pioneering flexible, fast chargers offer a perfect solution, since the time and costs required for installation are minimal,” he said.
The charger locations will be integrated into the navigation and other in-car apps of Volkswagen, Seat and SKODA vehicles as well as into Volkswagen’s charging application, Elli, making it easier for drivers to find available charging points. Any EV driver will be able to use the new chargers as part of the bp pulse and Aral pulse network enabling all EV drivers to sign up and collect rewards from bp/Aral loyalty programs.
Bernard Looney, bp’s chief executive officer, said: “EV charging is one of the key engines driving bp’s transformation to an integrated energy company. That’s why we’re so excited by our partnership with Volkswagen. When you bring together one of the world’s leading car makers and one the world’s leading energy companies – the opportunity is huge. This is a significant step-forward on our journey to accelerate the electrification od transport in Europe.”
Under the terms of their agreement, Volkswagen and bp will also look to pursue further opportunities together to provide future solutions for lower carbon mobility.