EV owners in the United States would love a setup like this.
Americans are slowly warming up to electric vehicles, but there's still a long way to go in terms of mass adoption. There are many benefits to EV ownership, such as low maintenance costs and impressive performance. However, the negatives are also well-documented - finding a charging station (and topping the batteries up) is far more time-consuming than filling an ICE-powered car up with gas.
Over in Europe, Volkswagen is hoping to assuage issues around charging by expanding its charging network. Now, ID.4 owners can enjoy the use of more than 310,000 charging stations across the continent. Of those myriad charging points, around 10,000 are more convenient fast chargers. The brand also hopes to pair up with several partners to increase comfort for EV owners - Porsche is planning something similar, too.
VW's CEO of Group Components, Thomas Schmall, says that while most EV owners consider home charging essential, the automaker cannot be satisfied by that.
"We have therefore taken these issues into our own hands and are investing in comfort, quality, and expansion of the charging network on behalf of our customers. This is a strong team effort by our volume brands ... our goal is to get everyone excited about e-mobility."
In the future, customers will be able to choose between three different tariffs, each with fixed prices per kWh charged. This, says Volkswagen, will curry favor with consumers who desire transparent fixed costs. Pricing may differ from country to country, though. Through the vehicle's navigation system, owners will be able to locate a convenient charging location. What's more, quality criteria will allow drivers to see important information - charging reliability, weather protection, and if there's a cafe/restaurant. This is set to commence this year.
"We want to offer our customers an optimal charging experience and make the e-car an uncompromisingly first-time vehicle choice. For this reason, we are emphatically addressing the issues of price transparency, network expansion, and charging comfort ... this will bring a new quality dynamic to the expansion of the charging network," said CEO of Volkswagen Group Charging, Elke Temme.
Elsewhere, the company's EV onslaught continues. Several unique initiatives are currently underway, the most interesting being the electrification of the Greek island of Astypalea. Aside from introducing more electric cars to the Mediterranean paradise, Volkswagen is also removing abandoned cars from the island to reduce pollution.
It would be great to see Volkswagen roll out a similar charging project in the USA, where charging remains a problem. For now, just the ID.4 is sold Stateside, however, the desirable ID.Buzz minivan is set to arrive in 2024.