Electrify America, the EV charging network created by Volkswagen as part of its penance for selling illegal diesel cars that did not meet state and federal emissions regulations, announced on February 4 that it will install a Tesla Powerpack battery at “more than 100” of its charging locations in the US. It expects to install more than 3,000 chargers all across America this year and next.
According to The Verge, the Tesla batteries will have a capacity of 350 kWh and support ultrafast charging at up to 210 kW. They are intended to make sure there is plenty of electricity on hand to supply the needs of EV drivers during peak demand times. Giovanni Palazzo, CEO of Electrify America, says the Tesla’s Powerpacks are “a natural fit” for his company’s charging stations, given Tesla’s “global expertise in both battery storage development and EV charging.”
Working with Volkswagen and Electrify America is further proof, if any was needed, that Tesla is serious about its commitment to making the transition to an all-electric transportation sector happen as quickly as possible, even if that means assisting a competitor to bring electric cars to market.
Volkswagen is expected to bring its first electric car built on the company’s new MEB chassis to market later this year. The first model for VW’s new ID electric car brand will be a 5 door hatchback sedan that will have three range levels, starting at just under 200 miles and going up to as many as 300 miles or more. Drivers will get to choose how much range they need and are willing to pay for. While the ID sedan may not need over 200 kW of charging power, the electric cars on tap from Porsche and Audi certainly will.
Tesla has toyed with the idea of adding battery storage to some of its more frequently used Supercharger locations, but has not made storage a regular feature of its charging network — at least, not yet. A new version of the Supercharger which will support higher charging powers is expected to be introduced this year. Perhaps Tesla will add more battery storage to its charging locations as those new Superchargers are rolled out.
While Tesla is focused primarily on ramping up production of the Model 3 (and improving service), Tesla is also seeing a significant increase in its battery storage business. Last year it installed 1.04 GWh of energy storage — triple the amount it installed in 2017. In its latest letter to investors, it says it expects to double that number in 2019 to more than 2 GWh thanks to the addition of a new battery manufacturing line made by Grohmann Engineering at the Gigafactory in Nevada.
The Verge suggests greater cooperation between manufacturers will be needed to move the zero-emissions revolution in transportation forward. That’s undoubtedly true. One thing that would certainly help would be for the world’s manufacturers to agree on a common charging standard. At present, Tesla has its Supercharger standard, much of Europe is committed to the CCS standard, most Japanese companies (and some South Korean models) are wedded to CHAdeMO, and China has another standard all together.
If moving the world toward electric transportation is a worthwhile goal — and it definitely is — common standards would go a long way to accelerating that trend. After all, nozzles for gasoline and diesel pumps are standardized, so why shouldn’t EV charging equipment be standardized? Perhaps this new collaboration between Tesla and Electrify America will mark the beginning of a move toward the harmonization of charging equipment, something every EV driver would welcome.