Volkswagen's Mobile Charging Stations Sound Like a Great Idea

All image credits: Volkswagen
All image credits: Volkswagen

One of the hurdles of widespread EV ownership is the lack of charging infrastructure. Charging station just aren’t numerous or readily accessible enough in some regions for people to feel secure about buying an electric car. Which is why I very much like Volkswagen’s idea of mobile charging stations.

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The mobile stations haven’t been rolled out just yet, but Volkswagen envisions them to work like portable power banks but for an electric car. They can be flexibly set up and don’t need a connection to an existing power supply. Up to 15 EVs can be charged with one station, which has a capacity of 360 kWh. The charging process up to approximately 80 percent takes an average of 17 minutes, the automaker claims.

Illustration for article titled Volkswagen's Mobile Charging Stations Sound Like a Great Idea

And if the energy in the integrated battery set falls below 20 percent, a fully charged station can be brought in to replace it. But, as Volkswagen notes in its press release:

... if it is permanently attached to the power supply with up to 30 kW via alternating current, the battery pack perpetually recharges itself. In case the charging process is based on renewable Power bank for electric cars – the mobile quick charging station by Volkswagen Group Components power supply, the charging station furthermore allows the temporary storage of sustainably generated power, such as solar or wind energy – and therefore CO2-neutral mobility.

Volkswagen reasons that its mobile stations would be extremely handy in places like public parking lots in cities, places where temporary stations are needed because maybe a permanent charging point doesn’t exist there just yet. The stations would have space for four cars to be charged at once and they apparently can be set up quickly and without “major financial outlay.”

This seems like a pretty great temporary solution for places that need charging stations but haven’t gotten them yet. Or, they can be useful in remote spots that expect a big number of people during a specific time. Like at Burning Man or something.

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The first stations will debut in Wolfsburg, Germany, during the first half of this year. It’s unclear if Volkswagen has plans to bring the technology stateside or not, but I hope it does. We have reached out for comment and will update if we hear back.

Update 12:54 p.m. EST: An Electrify America spokesperson responded and said that it has made no announcements regarding mobile charging stations.

Writer at Jalopnik and consumer of many noodles.

DISCUSSION

Bite sized infrastructure like this is an absolute folly.

360kWh is going to weight 4000-4500 lbs. That means you’re going to need a truck and trailer to deliver them (hope you’re delivering more than one) and collect them.

The only way these make sense is as pop up Super Charger stations attached to the grid with limited capacity. You drop off 5-10 of these at an even site, wire them up to a ~100 kW mains power source and voila you have the capacity to charge more vehicles simultaneously than installed capacity would allow. The portable stations recharge over night or at times of low demand.