Volkswagen recently submitted both its plans to invest $2 billion in electric vehicle infrastructure in the US as part of its court settlements with the California Air Resources Board (CARB) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for the DieselGate scandal.
We reported on the main details of the plan for California, which includes installing ultra-fast 320 kW chargers, and the plan for the whole country, which includes a ‘nationwide 150 kW+ fast charging network’.
Now other automakers are contesting the plans and want to have a say in how VW should spend that money. Some ideas are OK, though the contestation could result in slowing the rollout of the EV infrastructure, while other demands are plain ridiculous.
As previously reported, VW set up a new subsidiary called Electrify America to build the network independently from the company. The chargers will not be proprietary to VW and use Combined Charging System (CCS), CHAdeMO and open protocols like Open Charge Point Protocol (OCPP).
In other words, if executed correctly, it will be a great help to accelerate the deployment of all electric vehicles – not just VW’s.
As CARB is considering approving VW’s plan, automakers are expressing concerns and the most depressing one is coming from Toyota, Honda, and Hyundai.
Those are the 3 automakers still the most entrenched in fuel cell hydrogen technology for the next-gen on zero-emission vehicles and therefore, unsurprisingly, they are requesting that some of VW’s funds go to build hydrogen fueling stations instead of EV charging stations.
All 3 automakers have been struggling to sell their fuel cell vehicles and are hoping that more refueling stations would help them. Honda and Hyundai have recently started making all-electric vehicle, the Clarity Electric and the Ioniq Electric, since their fuel cell sales haven’t been sufficient to comply to the ZEV mandate, but Toyota has yet to make the jump to fully electric.
Other automakers are also complaining about VW’s plan. Automotive News reported on comments made by Ford and BMW:
“Ford Motor Co. said it “has reservations about having a key electrification driver dependent on and ultimately controlled by one automotive competitor.” Ford added VW should target areas where “demonstrated market interest does not already exist.”
BMW AG said Volkswagen “should not be afforded an implicit comparative advantage through its ability to control day-to-day operations of consumer charging events” such as waiting times, pricing and billing.”
It looks like Ford and BMW are missing the point. If they are worried about VW having control over the electric vehicle charging market then they should build their own. This obligated built out by VW is a lot like CARB’s ZEV mandate. Automakers don’t have to make and sell EVs, but if they don’t, they will have to pay those who do in order to compensate.
Hopefully for EV drivers, this process will not slow down the deployment of VW’s charging stations, which are supposed to start this year.