In the recent past, we’ve published updates on Volkswagen’s all-ahead-full effort to create an infrastructure that can support the wave of EVs it expects to produce – some under its new alliance with the Ford Motor Company on electric and self-driving vehicles – over the coming decade. Part of that plan is the creation, by both automakers, of a new commercial infrastructure that will allow EVs to be conveniently serviced and recharged. That is going to be a huge undertaking, second only to developing the new vehicles themselves. Volkswagen Group of America last week took a stride forward in that department, as it announced the opening of a next-generation charging station at its Arizona Proving Grounds outside Phoenix. The site will handle real-world testing of EV charging systems under severe heat conditions – remember, daytime summer temperatures of 110 degrees are commonplace in that locale.
This, cousins, is what getting “gas” is going to look like in the immediate future. Volkswagen’s facility in Maricopa, Arizona, will have charging stations for 50 vehicles, comprising 25 DC fast chargers, capable of producing up to 350kW and recharging EVs at the rate of 20 miles’ range per minute; plus 10 Level 2 AC chargers to simulate less complex home-based recharging. The charging systems will utilize standard connector plus as used in North America, the European Union and China. A remote-controlled shade will provide some relief from the sun at various charging spots. Volkswagen Group of America invested $9 million in the charging station, which became operational in February. The long-term plan from Wolfsburg calls for Volkswagen to operate a global network of charging stations at dealerships outfitted to handle volume EV service and repair.