EVs are only as good as the infrastructure that supports them, and Volkswagen wants to make sure it has all its bases covered as it hopes to produce millions of new EVs in the coming decades.
Volkswagen Group announced on Friday that it will shift its Volkswagen Group Components business toward the manufacture of mobile EV charging stations. Expected to enter series production in 2020, the mobile chargers will act like power banks for phones, providing off-grid juice as necessary.
To achieve this, Volkswagen will manufacture these chargers at its Hanover components plant, which currently builds heat exchangers and other parts for vehicles with internal combustion engines. As this transfer happens, VW promises that it will make "optimum use" of its current employees. "For example, a heat exchanger developer will be able to deploy his know-how in future for the development of battery cooling systems or the optimization of thermal management," VW said in a press release.
The chargers will be based on the batteries in VW's. Since it can use cells from MEB batteries, future chargers will be able to use recycled cells from old EV batteries. Obviously the first group of chargers won't use recycled batteries, because VW won't have sold any MEB cars by that point, but it's an option in the future to extend the life of its cells.
VW Group has been working on this system since 2018. It will run a pilot program in 2019 in Wolfsburg, Germany, ahead of production commencing. VW isn't the only automaker getting down with the idea of mobile chargers, either -- last year,, a company that manufactures mobile Level 2 EV chargers.