Long known for its legacy of exacting German automotive engineering expertise and innovation, Volkswagen’s Electrify America subsidiary is partnering with Texas-based EVgo to establish a network of electric vehicle charging stations across the United States.
|Want more? Enjoy a free subscription to Aftermarket Business World magazine to get the latest news in the Automotive Aftermarket Industry. Click here to start your subscription today.|
Terry O’Day is EVgo’s vice president of product strategy and market development, and he recently answered a series of questions posed by Aftermarket Business World concerning the details of hosting, installing and maintaining the charging units:
Q: What other automakers do you have agreements with? Are you seeking contracts with additional OEMs?
A: EVgo also has agreements with BMW, Nissan and Ford that provide their customers with free EV charging sessions with the purchase/lease of their car. We have an agreement to provide EV charging for General Motors to drivers in its Maven brand. We are constantly talking with every OEM to increase EV adoption and consumer satisfaction with EVs.
Q: Are your individual chargers compatible with all the different automakers? Or are there separate units for the various nameplates?
A: EVgo stations cover all EVs available today, and utilize both CHAdeMO and CCS standards. EVgo’s DC fast-chargers provide approximately 150 miles of range per hour at a charging rate of 50kW, the fastest available public charging rate.
Q: What is your assessment of opportunities for aftermarket businesses interested in supplying parts and services for the EV segment?
A: There are now more than 600,000 EVs on the road, and that figure is expected to double every couple of years. There is already substantial business in repair parts, and particularly for tires. Many of the early adopters of EVs are very proud of their cars and like to customize.
Q: What are the respective roles of BTC Power and ABB regarding your charging network?
A: ABB and BTC provide the physical charging hardware for EVgo’s charging network. Both manage a portion of the networking requirements for the stations. Both offer maintenance and repair services. EVgo blends these offerings by market to achieve the highest service levels and contain costs.
Q: What types of locations are you seeking for charger installations?
A: EVgo has built the largest public fast charging network in the U.S. This is predominantly in metropolitan areas, where stations are distributed across the major thoroughfares to create a web of reliable charging that encourages EV sales. The stations have convenient on/off access to the roadway, excellent retail, dedicated EV spaces, and adequate lighting.
Q: Are there opportunities for “gas stations” and auto service centers to host charging units? Are there opportunities for fleet operations to host chargers?
A: We currently have gas station partners where we operate EV charging. Those stations are typically full-service retail models with a large convenience store and other food options.
Generally speaking, however, most gas stations a not a great fit because the consumer experience is poor, the parking area is insufficient, or there are other physical/electrical conflicts. Instead, we tend to focus on places where people already plan to visit and spend time. Many EV drivers consider it a benefit to never stop for gas again.