VW, according to the report, dissatisfied with Ionity: New capital wanted, own charging network possible

Tesla has its superchargers, drivers of the increasing number of electric cars from other brands have to get along with charging stations that manufacturer-independent providers are expanding at their own pace. The German car companies plus Ford founded the Ionity joint venture for a fast European charging network in 2017, but this has not only been unpopular with electric car drivers since a drastic price increase, but is now also becoming critical with the head of co-owner Volkswagen, according to a report seen.

Board fears electric car traffic jams

The expansion is progressing so slowly that Volkswagen would “if necessary” invest in its own network, said Volkswagen Group CEO Herbert Diess, according to a report by Manager-Magazin in December 2020 in a video conference with other executives. Ionity is, according to Diess, a year behind schedule. The heads of the VW subsidiaries Porsche and Audi are therefore already working on a brand-specific charging offer and have split the project among themselves, the magazine reports. But it has not yet been finally decided.

A possible charging offer from the Volkswagen Group based on the Tesla model had already been reported last year. The plans are in connection with the Artemis project, which has now been spun off into a subsidiary, which arose from the knowledge that the current VW electric cars are not yet close to Tesla – by 2024, an agilely developed new model is to change.

But the number of Tesla electric cars is already rapidly increasing on the roads in Germany and Europe, and according to Manager-Magazin, a board member at an automaker warned that this would soon lead to “traffic jams”. Ionity brakes itself because the now five shareholders (Hyundai joined them later) would make all important decisions unanimously. BMW has also criticized insufficiently ambitious planning for charging participation.

New 500 million euros for Ionity?

Even if Ionity catches up with the current backlog of the planning of 430 CCS stations across Europe by the end of the year, that will be enough to meet the increasing demand, reports the manager magazine further from the VW conference. For a long time, the owners have therefore been discussing raising additional money in the form of private equity for faster expansion – apparently not all of them want to invest more themselves. According to the report, it should go up to 500 million euros and there is interest from large financial companies. The evaluation will probably be discussed in the next few weeks.

None of this sounds like Tesla Tempo, but at least the problem seems to have been recognized at Volkswagen and addressed by Diess. The new VW technical director Thomas Schmall should now tackle the issue more quickly, according to the magazine. He will be supported by Elke Temme, who has just moved from the innogy energy group to Volkswagen as head of charging and energy.


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