The Volkswagen Group has announced several charging updates for its electric vehicle fleet in Europe as part of its "New Auto" strategy.
The automaker's volume brands—Volkswagen, SEAT/Cupra and Skoda—are now offering simple tariffs for public charging in Europe, which means customers can charge at fixed kilowatt-hour prices throughout the entire charging network.
According to the company, this step creates optimal cost transparency for customers, with VW research showing that EV users are clearly in favour of transparent fixed prices.
In the future, customers will be able to choose between three basic tariffs, each with fixed prices per kilowatt hour charged. The new tariffs apply to customers of We Charge (Volkswagen), Powerpass (Skoda), Easy Charging (SEAT/Cupra) and Elii, offering top conditions for Ionity fast chargers, among other benefits.
Depending on the country, prices can be different, but always follow the same logic. VW Group's in-house brand Elli, which is responsible for all activities involving charging and energy, is the backbone of the offer.
Another key component of Volkswagen's quality offensive is the market launch of Plug&Charge, which will be activated from the middle of the year via a software update in all EVs of the volume brands based on the MEB platform.
As the name suggests, the function enables an automatic start of the charging process as the vehicle identifies itself at the charging stations using the ISO 15188 standard. Plug&Charge is supported by charging stations including Ionity, Aral/bp, E.ON and Iberdrola, with other partners already preparing to make their stations compatible with the function.
Besides introducing transparent fixed pricing for charging and Plug&Charge, the Volkswagen Group says it is further expanding its charging network in Europe to more than 310,000 charging points, including around 10,000 fast chargers at over 3,000 locations.
The automaker is also planning a partner programme to increase the comfort at charging parks by introducing a "Selected Partner" programme that will highlight particularly convenient charging stations in the EVs' navigation systems, offering drivers the option to drive there. VW says the quality criteria to highlight a certain charging station will include reliability, weather protection and if there is a catering option.
This will give customers the option to target charging stations with a canopy and coffee offering, for example. The programme is scheduled to start later this year.