First $300M tranche of VW National ZEV investment targets charging infrastructure; 150kW+ fast charging on highway network
The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has published the plan for the first tranche of Volkswagen’s National Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) Investment spending, directed at 11 cities nationwide—New York, Washington, D.C., Chicago, Portland, Boston, Seattle, Philadelphia, Denver, Houston, Miami, and Raleigh—and several highway corridors.
As a part of the first cycle of investment, Volkswagen’s “Electrify America” program is earmarked to spend $300 million, with the most focus on the installation of hundreds of electric vehicle (EV) charging stations at multi-family residences, workplaces, highway rest-stops, commercial and retail sites, and municipal lots and garages.
Background. As required by Appendix C to the 2.0-Liter Partial Consent Decree entered by the US. District Court for the Northern District of California on 25 October 2016, Volkswagen Group of America is investing $1.2 billion over the next 10 years in zero emission vehicle (ZEV) infrastructure, education, and access outside California to support the increased adoption of ZEV technology in the United States, representing the largest commitment of its kind to date. Volkswagen Group of America has created Electrify America LLC, a wholly-owned subsidiary headquartered in Reston, Virginia, to fulfill its Appendix C commitments.
The $1.2 billion commitment will be spent in $300 million increments over four 30-month cycles.
First tranche. In the first ZEV investment cycle, Electrify America will focus on three activities aimed at increasing the use of ZEVs.
Installing charging infrastructure (approximately $250 million);
Public Education initiatives (approximately $25 million); and
ZEV access initiatives (under development), and an additional approximately $25 million spent on the operational costs of running Electrify America (e.g., personnel, other business expenses).
Electrify America plans to build charging infrastructure that will primarily consist of (1) community charging and (2) a long-distance highway network. In addition, other use cases/technologies are also under consideration including targeted battery storage to manage peak demand and ease grid loads, etc.
Electrify America stations will be designed to provide access by supporting multiple non-proprietary and interoperable charging technologies to meet different needs. Level 2 AC charging (L2) with universally accepted J1772 connectors will serve charging at long dwell-time locations. 50+ kW Direct Current (DC) fast charging will serve ZEV needs in shorter dwell time situations and along highway corridors, utilizing non-proprietary charging standards (CCS and CHAdeMO).
Electrify America will build a long-distance high-speed highway network consisting of charging stations along high-traffic corridors between metropolitan areas and across the country, with an initial target of approximately 240 highway sites installed or under development by the end of the first cycle, more than 150 of which are expected to be completed.
Sites will be, on average, about 66 miles apart, with no more than 120 miles between stations, meaning many shorter range ZEVs available today will be able to use this network. Stations will focus on 150 kW and some 320 kW DC fast chargers, which will also be capable of charging 50 kW capable vehicles at a lower power level.
Electrify America’s 150 kW DC fast charging stations will provide about 9 miles of ZEV range per minute of charging, while 320 kW DC fast chargers will provide about 19 miles of range per minute.
Electrify America will also support open protocols including Open Charge Point Protocol (OCPP) that allow more standardized communication between different chargers and networks.
Electrify America will seek access agreements with owners of other charging networks to make it easy for as many ZEV drivers as possible to move more seamlessly between different charging networks.
Charging stations will be located first in the areas with the highest anticipated ZEV demand, based on the forecast penetration rates of ZEVs in each region and the estimated gap between the supply and demand of charging infrastructure in those regions.
Within selected metros, Electrify America plans to build 300+ stations across five major use cases (multi-family homes, workplace, commercial/retail, community, and municipal lots/garages).
In aggregate, the Electrify America first cycle investment will aim to establish a network of approximately 2500+ non-proprietary chargers across 450+ individual stations.
In parallel with the National ZEV Investment Plan, VW and the California Air Resources Board (CARB) released the California ZEV Investment Plan on 8 March 2017, outlining the plans for the first $200 million to be spent in California. In this plan, Volkswagen and CARB prioritized ZEV infrastructure build-out in areas with high anticipated ZEV demand and around disadvantaged communities throughout California, noting the potential for significant decreases in air pollution as a result of this ZEV build-out.
This plan is part of a multi-part $15 billion settlement agreement in the US, as a result of the VW emissions testing cheating scandal, and comes on the heels of Volkswagen settling separately with 10 states in late March.