Hybrids & Electrics

Volkswagen Opens Next-Generation Electric Charging Station

Extreme heat and cold temperatures affect electric car battery life and usage. Volkswagen knows this. So, the company has opened the doors to an extensive charging station for electric vehicles at its Arizona proving grounds. The next generation charging facility will be used to evaluate battery charging and electric performance in extreme heat. 

The front end of a white 2020 Golf R from Volkswagen
25 June 2020, Saxony, Meerane: A VW Golf 7 R | Photo by Hendrik Schmidt/picture alliance via Getty Images

The new electric charging facility

In a press release, Volkswagen announced the opening of the 50 electric vehicle station facility. Charging at the site will be monitored in conditions that can reach 120 degrees. Power outputs at the facility will be anywhere from 50kw to 350kw. The chargers will accommodate three different connector types with “charging equipment [that] comes from different brands from around the world to maximize testing variability.”

The release also says, 

“Sixteen parking spots are located under a remote-controlled canopy, which uses awnings to simulate full sun and shaded conditions. The charging station also features state-of-the-art safety controls, including a battery temperature monitoring system, developed in-house, that is the basis of the world’s first battery cooling system designed to prevent overheating damage in a serious emergency. A small building in the center of the charging station will allow engineers and test drivers to safely evaluate all testing data without enduring the extreme heat of the Arizona desert.”

The aim of the new facility is to improve the electric vehicle infrastructure and provide electric mobility education. Its testing will cover electric vehicle and charging equipment evaluations in parallel. The year-long construction of the facility reached certification this month. A plan for solar energy is also in progress at the facility to enable all the electricity for the station in the near future. 

Volkswagen Atlas Cross Sport
Volkswagen Atlas Cross Sport | VW

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All of Volkswagen Group tests here

The rest of the Arizona Proving Grounds facility is used for durability testing of vehicles in extreme-heat environments. The entire Volkswagen Group tests there. So, it is not unusual to spot Audi, Porsche, Lamborghini, and Bentley at the site in addition to Volkswagen.  

2020 VW Passat R-Line
2020 VW Passat R-Line | Volkswagen

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Renewed interest in electric vehicles

Volkswagen Group has taken a renewed interest in electrification since the Dieselgate fiasco began five years ago. The company was found cheating emissions regulations by having emissions defeat devices built into their vehicles. As a result of the cheating, Volkswagen had to buy back many of the vehicles it sold. It also had to pay into a federal settlement fund that, among other things, is intended to educate the public on electrification and support the electric vehicle charging infrastructure. 

Just yesterday, Clean Tecnica reported that although a final agreement with Fisker has not been signed, it was alluded to in Fisker’s quest to become a Wall Street listed company that Volkswagen’s MEB electric platform could be the basis for Fisker’s Ocean SUV. Also, Volkswagen recently entered into an agreement with Ford to manufacture or share electric vehicle technology and platforms. 

2020 Volkswagen GTI Autobahn Edition
2020 Volkswagen GTI Autobahn Edition | Volkswagen

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True repentance for Dieselgate

There is currently an all-out effort for Volkswagen to transition away from diesel and toward electrification. It certainly can not happen overnight. But, the steps by the company making news as of late are encouraging. They show a company in true repentance and not just lipservice. The new next-generation electric charging station is proof positive.