Volkswagen has announced plans to invest in electric vehicle charging infrastructure, but it's a paltry $10 million and it's only good through next year.
The location of the announcement by VW of America's product marketing and strategy veep Jörg Sommer is more telling. Sommer made the pledge at the 2015 Electric Drive Congress in Washington, D.C., where he said that automakers are doing their part, and now it's the feds' turn to get involved.
"Automakers have effectively delivered electric vehicles that can satisfy the needs of most American drivers," Sommer said at the announcement. "In addition to the investment we and other companies and industries are making, we would like to see Federal financing support for establishing fast charging networks in urban areas and interstate corridors."
He went on to say that local, state, and federal government institutions should begin making clean vehicle purchases a priority and that the multiplier credits for plug-in vehicles should extend beyond the 2021 model year.
VW is partnering with Chargepoint, one of the world's largest charging networks, for the program, and one chunk of that $10 million will go towards the company expanding its DC fast-charging program to close to 100 high-speed chargers on both the east and west coast, with stations no more than 50 miles apart.
While $10 million is a lot of cash, it pales in comparison to what Chargepoint has already spent on building over 20,000 stations around the world (well over $100 million). Or Tesla, which has 263 Superchargers in the U.S. at a cost upwards of $40 million, although it's using its own proprietary technology that's more expensive than standard Level 2 or DC fast charging.
But VW's real motivation is to get the government on board, throwing some cash at charging infrastructure and then tossing the ball in the government's court.