Collaborative partnership to introduce EV fast-charging in Europe

Volkswagen Group and BP have launched a strategic partnership to ensure the swift introduction of EV fast-charging across Europe.

What does this mean for EV fast-charging?

Volkswagen and BP launched their strategic partnership on 28 April 2022, which is intended to encourage the adoption of electric vehicles (EVs) across Europe. To do this, they unveiled the first charger in Dusseldorf, Germany. This collaborative partnership combines two of the leading global players in e-mobility. They aim to transform EV fast-charging access in key European markets by rapidly building a fast1 charging network across Europe by 2024 and delivering a seamless experience for EV drivers.

This partnership between Volkswagen and BP means:

  • A quick introduction of public EV fast-charging across Europe;
  • Quick installation of flexible battery-based chargers, as they do not require high power grid connections;
  • An EV Fast-charging unit that is now live and open to the public in Dusseldorf, Germany, with up to 4,000 charge points planned within 24 months in Germany and the UK;
  • BP’s growing charging network will be integrated into Volkswagen, ŠKODA, and Seat/Cupra in-car dashboards, which will ensure drivers can find their nearest charger seamlessly; and
  • A potential installation of up to 8,000 new charge points across Germany, the UK, and other European countries by the end of 2024.

How do Volkswagen’s Flexpole charging units work?

Volkswagen’s innovative Flexpole 150kW charging units, each of which features two charge points, possess an integrated battery storage system. This technology allows the company to overcome one of the biggest obstacles faced when introducing an EV fast-charging infrastructure in Europe: the need for high-powered grid connections.

The Flexpole units can be directly connected to a low voltage grid, which removes the requirement for a dedicated substation and costly construction work. Thus, this significantly reduces the installation times while still providing fast charging speeds of up to 150kW2, which is enough to deliver up to 160km of driving in as little as 10 minutes, depending on the EV model.

What are the plans and benefits regarding additional charging points?

The first phase of this collaborative partnership will introduce approximately 4,000 additional charge points both at BP’s Aral retail sites in Germany and BP’s retail locations in the UK over the next 24 months. By the end of 2024, up to 8,000 EV fast-charging points will potentially be available across Germany, the UK, and other European countries.

BP is rapidly expanding its EV charging network, including its extensive and conveniently located network of retail sites. This means that EV drivers will be able to charge their vehicles in safe, well-lit stations with access to additional services, such as food, drink, and toilets.

Herbert Diess, Volkswagen’s Chief Executive Officer, said: “Volkswagen has been pioneering the transformation to e-mobility across Europe. Today we have the broadest offer of EVs 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 are pleased to team up with BP to accelerate the rollout of the fast-charging network across Europe.”

Bernard Looney, BP’s Chief Executive Officer, added: “EV charging is one of the key engines driving BP’s transformation to an integrated energy company. That is why we are so excited by our partnership with Volkswagen. When you bring together one of the world’s leading carmakers and one of the world’s leading energy companies – the opportunity is huge. This is a significant step forward on our journey to accelerate the electrification of transport in Europe.”

How can these charging locations be discovered?

The charger locations will be incorporated into the navigation and other in-car apps of Volkswagen, Seat, and ŠKODA vehicles, as well as into Volkswagen’s charging application, Elli. The intention is that this will make it easier for drivers to find available EV fast-charging points. Thus, any EV driver will be able to utilise the new chargers as part of the BP pulse and Aral pulse network, enabling all EV drivers to sign up and collect rewards from the BP/Aral loyalty programmes.

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 EV charging infrastructure in Europe at high speed. Together with BP, we will bring thousands of EV fast-charging stations to life within a very short time.

“The 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.”

“BP has served customers on the go for decades in Europe and across the world,” concluded Emma Delaney, BP’s Executive Vice President of Customers and Products. “With the transition to EVs well underway in Europe, we want to provide fast, reliable charging and convenience to EV drivers on the go.

“We are delighted to announce this partnership with Volkswagen. The flexible battery-based chargers will accelerate BP’s EV 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.”

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.

1 “Fast charging” includes rapid charging ≥50kW and ultra-fast charging ≥150k.

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