VW Canada building national EV charging network for all to use


VW’s Electrify Canada system will support all automotive brands to help ensure all EV drivers have access to these chargers, regardless of their choice of manufacturer. Photo credit: Volkswagen Canada

Volkswagen Group Canada has formed Electrify Canada, a new company that will build an ultra-fast electric vehicle direct current (DC) charging network across Canada, slated to be operational in the second quarter of 2019.

“The Canadian electric vehicle market is growing, creating a great need for charging that is fast, convenient and available in key locations,” said Daniel Weissland, CEO of Volkswagen Group Canada.

The initial plan includes installation of 32 EV charging sites near major highways and in major metro areas in B.C., Alberta, Ontario and Quebec. Each site will have four chargers on average and use non-proprietary DC fast charging technologies.

Charging power will range from 150kW to 350kW for the expected longer range, larger battery vehicles coming to market and will also deliver 50kW charging power to support today’s EVs from all automotive manufacturers.

The automaker did not say how much it will cost to build the network.

When asked how much drivers will be charged to use the use stations, VW Canada spokesman Thomas Tetzlaff said: “We haven’t gotten to that level of detail yet.”

“Those details will follow,” he said.

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Electrify Canada will manage the rollout and ongoing operation of the network, working with local vendors to locate, build and operate the network.

All brands supported

The system will support all automotive brands to help ensure all EV drivers have access to these chargers, regardless of their choice of manufacturer.

Tetzlaff said owners of current eGolf will certainly benefit, but there’s a new generation of electric vehicle coming built on a purpose-built e-platform called MEB.

“We won’t see the first one until about 2020 but it will be in Europe before that,” he says. “However we decided why wait? Let’s get people thinking electric by forming the new company.”

Volkswagen also owns the Porsche and Audi brands.

Porsche spokesman Patrick Saint-Pierre says the system will support the Taycan, a sedan slightly smaller than Panamera which is part of the Mission E program.

“We will see it in 2020,” he said.

Audi has the e-tron plug-in hybrid, but the company has pledged to have 20 electrified vehicles, most of them pure electric, by 2025.

Audi spokesman Cort Neilsen was unavailable for comment.

Not a settlement

A VW spokesman, in response to a reporter’s question, said the initiative was not the result of any legal settlement stemming from VW’s global emissions cheating scandal. 

“Volkswagen Group Canada recognizes that the Canadian electric vehicle market is growing rapidly, creating a great need for charging that is fast, convenient and available in key locations,” VW said in an e-mailed response. 

“Electrify Canada is supporting this project to help ensure that all EV drivers have access to these chargers, regardless of their choice of manufacturer. We want to take a leadership position in supporting electrification infrastructure by providing this key EV adoption enabler to the Canadian market.”


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