As part of Volkswagen’s continued effort to seek repentance for the Dieselgate scandal, the German automaker is investing billions into electric cars. That includes a new announcement Wednesday that it’ll install “ultra-fast” electric vehicle chargers at more than 100 Walmart stores in 34 states, by mid-2019.
The planned network of chargers stems from VW unit Electrify America, which is committing a $2 billion investment over the next decade in electric vehicle infrastructure. In a press release, Electrify America and Walmart said the charging systems will offer certified cooled-cable 150 to 350 kW DC fast chargers, allowing for a charging rate that generates up to 20 miles of range per minute.
The systems will have a capability of up to 350 kW for stations located along the highway, with metro locations having chargers ranging from 50-150 kW. And every station will have a CHAdeMO1 50 kW connector, “ensuring that all fast charging capable cars will be able to use the Electrify America stations, regardless of their charge point locations,” the press release said.
Electric charging infrastructure is often cited as a crucial barrier to electric vehicles catching on in the U.S., even though the majority of people handle charging at their home. Tesla has its Supercharger network, which has long given it an edge in the industry. But these sort of announcements are key for automakers to win over new EV buyers, and could help make more people comfortable with taking an electric car on a long trip.
Electrify America says it ultimately intends to build more than 2,000 chargers at 484 sites, and it plans to have them either constructed or under construction by the end of 2019.