Volkswagen partners with bp for EV fast charging rollout in Europe

Bernard Looney and Herbert Diess launching the first bp / Aral flexpole fast charger. (Credit: Volkswagen)

Volkswagen will partner with bp to launch a strategic partnership to roll out up to 4,000 fast-charging electric vehicle charge points in Germany and the United Kingdom within the next two years.

The first charger was unveiled in Dusseldorf, Germany on Thursday, which will be the first of perhaps 8,000 total charging points across Germany, the UK, and other European countries by 2024. Initially, the Dusseldorf fast charger is now live and is the first of at least 4,000.

The partnership will utilize Volkswagen’s Flexpole 150kW charging units, which each offer two charge points and have an integrated battery system, which enables a high-powered grid connection to make fast charging possible. The Flexpole units can be connected to a low voltage grid, which removes the need for a dedicated substation and costly and time-consuming construction projects. The Flexpole chargers can provide up to 160 kilometers, or roughly 100 miles of driving range in as little as 10 minutes, depending on the vehicle.

Phase One of the rollout will see an additional 4,000 total charge points at bp’s Aral retail sites in Germany and bp retail sites in the United Kingdom over the next 24 months, Volkswagen said. Up to 8,000 total fast-charging points could be available by the end of 2024, but there are no guarantees to the supplemental 4,000 locations, it seems. However, bp is “rapidly expanding its EV charging network, including at its extensive and conveniently located network of retail sites,” it said. EV drivers are able to charge in safe, well-lit stations that have food and drinks and other convenience features.

“Volkswagen has been pioneering the transformation to e-mobility across Europe,” Volkswagen CEO Herbert Diess said. “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 decarbonization 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.”

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The Volkswagen-bp charging locations will be integrated into the navigation systems of Volkswagen, seat, and ŠKODA vehicles, and also into Volkswagen’s charging application, Elli.

Volkswagen’s Power Day outlined a need for more EV charging infrastructure in Europe, and plans to launch at least 18,000 new charge points in Europe with several different partners by 2025. Volkswagen also wants to install at least 17,000 charging points in China by the end of 2025.

“As we promised at our Power Day, we are driving the expansion of charging infrastructure in Europe at high speed,” Thomas Schmall, Member of the Board of Management of Volkswagen AG, said. “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.”

The VW Flexpole chargers are produced in Suzhou, China, and Hanover, Germany. They can be installed almost anywhere needed or where a charging infrastructure is not yet in place. When connected to the low voltage grid, the station becomes a permanent charging point without the additional cost and effort required for a comparable conventional fast-charging station,” Volkswagen said.

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Volkswagen partners with bp for EV fast charging rollout in Europe
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