Over the air updates are coming to Europe first.
Volkswagen is upping the charging speed on its ID models with the bigger, 77-kWh battery with an over-the-air update. It's also upgrading vehicles to be able to do bidirectional charging, which means it can provide power to your house if you lose it in a storm. All of this, as well as adding more charging points, are part of VW's plan to make EV ownership easier in Europe, though we could see our ID.4 getting the same upgrades.
"Our goal is to ensure that an electric vehicle is capable of being a customer's primary car - without any compromises. That is why we are building a complete charging eco-system, with residential charging solutions and a rapid expansion of the fast-charging infrastructure required for mobile charging, as well as competent advice, comprehensive charging tariffs and the right fleet solutions for business customers," says Elke Temme, head of the charging and energy business area at Volkswagen Group Components and CEO of Elli.
With the We Charge card, VW customers can use the largest charging network in Europe. And the company says it will install 18,000 more fast charging points, in addition to the 270,000 already available. And it will build more regular charging points too, about 35,000 with other retail partners. The driver just pulls up and plugs in, and they're charged automatically.
As for the extra power, all new 77-kWh battery ID models will leave the factory with new software that will improve charging from 125 to 135 kW. VW says this will cut charging times by about 9 minutes when going from 5-80% charge. The update also has a new Battery Care Mode that restricts the upper charge level to 80%.
If buyers want to go all the way green, they can get the Home Energy Management System that helps owners save money too. It uses algorithms to figure out when a lot of renewable energy is available, and then charges at the time. According to VW, "in 2019 alone, 6,500 gigawatt hours of renewable energy went unused in Germany, enough to have powered 2.7 million electric cars for a year."
As we said, we're expecting this upgrade on the ID.4, though we're still waiting for confirmation from VW, which expects one-in-four vehicles sold to be battery-electric by 2026. Faster, easier and more convenient charging will help us along in the changeover. As will cool retro busses that are headed back to our shores soon.