Bernard Looney and Herbert Diess launching the first bp / Aral flexpole fast charger.
Photo courtesy of bp

Volkswagen and bp to build fast-charging network in Europe by 2024

The need for high-powered grid connections is a key stumbling block in the rollout of fast charging infrastructure in Europe and around the world. On Thursday, 28 April, German motor vehicle manufacturer, Volkswagen, announced a strategic partnership with British oil and gas company, bp, to rapidly roll out fast-charging infrastructure in Europe. The alliance aims to improve the accessibility of fast charging in key European locations and overcome issues around grid connectivity.

Last year, Volkswagen sold more electric vehicles in Europe than any other automaker and the German company has ambitions to achieve 70% battery electric vehicle sales by 2030. The partnership with bp will see the deployment of Volkswagen’s innovative Flexpole 150kW charging units, which include an integrated battery storage system.

The chargers alleviate the need for a dedicated substation as units can be connected directly to a low voltage grid. According to Volkswagen, Flexpole chargers can be installed more quickly and at a lower cost, while still delivering charging of speeds of up to 150kW – or approximately 160km of driving in approximately ten minutes.

Volkswagen made the announcement as the first charger was unveiled in Dusseldorf, Germany. “The decarbonisation 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,” said Herbert Diess, Volkswagen’s chief executive officer,

Emma Delaney, bp’s executive vice president, customers & products, indicated near-term planning of up to 4,000 additional charge points at Germany Aral retail sites and UK bp locations with plans to increase this to 8,000 charge points by 2024.  The announcement confirmed that the locations of chargers will be loaded into the in-car apps of Volkswagen, Seat and Skoda vehicles and into Volkswagen’s charging application, Elli.