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April 29, 2022

Volkswagen Group and BP launch strategic partnership

BP’s charging network will be integrated into VW Group in-car dashboards.

By David Leggett

Volkswagen and energy giant BP have announced a strategic partnership that they say will boost the adoption of electric vehicles (EVs) across Europe.

The pair have unveiled the first charger in Dusseldorf, Germany.

The charger locations will be integrated into the navigation and other in-car apps of VW, Seat and Skoda vehicles as well as into Volkswagen’s charging application, Elli, making it easier for drivers to find available charging points. Any EV driver will be able to use the new chargers as part of the bp pulse and Aral pulse network enabling all EV drivers to sign up and collect rewards from bp/Aral loyalty programmes.

Volkswagen’s Flexpole 150kW charging units, each of which feature two charge points, have an integrated battery storage system, overcoming one of the biggest obstacles to the rapid roll-out of fast charging infrastructure in Europe today – the need for high-powered grid connections. The Flexpole units can be directly connected to a low voltage grid which removes the requirement for a dedicated substation and costly construction work, significantly reducing installation times while still providing fast charging speeds of up to 150kW2, enough to deliver up to 160km of driving in as little as 10 minutes, depending on the model of electric vehicle.

The first phase of the roll-out will see up to an additional 4,000 charge points at BP’s Aral retail sites in Germany and BP retail sites in the UK over the next 24 months. By the end 2024, up to 8,000 charge points could be available across Germany, the UK and other European countries.

Bernard Looney, BP CEO said: “EV charging is one of the key engines driving bp’s transformation to an integrated energy company. That’s why we’re so excited by our partnership with Volkswagen. When you bring together one of the world’s leading car makers and one of the world’s leading energy companies – the opportunity is huge.”

BP says it is rapidly expanding its EV charging network and it says EV drivers will be able to charge in safe, well-lit stations with ‘access to additional services such as food and drink for their journeys, as well as toilets’.

Herbert Diess, Volkswagen’s chief executive officer, said: “Volkswagen has been pioneering the transformation to e-mobility across Europe. Today we have the broadest offer of electric cars in the market and sold more EVs in the region than any other carmaker last year. Investing in everything from software to batteries and charging is part of our strategy to make individual mobility safer, more convenient and fully climate-neutral. The decarbonization of Europe’s economy requires close collaboration across borders and sectors. We’re pleased to team up with bp to accelerate the roll-out of the fast-charging network across Europe.”

Under the terms of their agreement, VW and BP will also look to pursue further opportunities together to provide future solutions for lower carbon mobility.

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