Unlike many other automakers, Volkswagen is gearing up to take full advantage of future SAE-approved Combined Charging System (CCS) — a combo-plug that enables fast charging — in its plug-in models. The German automaker is so committed, in fact, that it wants to include the standard on each one of its future plug-in vehicles.
Michael Horn, U.S. CEO of the the Volkswagen Auto Group, confirmed the news during the 2015 Detroit Auto Show. The automaker also showed off the future plug-in technology in its Cross Coupe GTE concept. Horn said that the standard enables “very fast” charging to the tune of 80 percent capacity in 15 minutes for a vehicle like the Cross Coupe GTE, which was shown with a 14.1-kWh lithium-ion battery pack.
“Our future plug-ins will be on Combo, and you will see a strong commitment for Combo,” said VW’s U.S. product chief Joerg Sommer in a separate Q&A at the show. He added that Volkswagen will be installing the CCS combo chargers at all of its U.S. dealerships, and is even thinking about investing in hot spots for its customers.
This approach contrasts that of many other automakers. General Motors, for instance, reports that more than 80 percent of Chevrolet Volt owners complete their daily trips on pure electricity, and more than 60 percent of extended-range EV’s mileage is on electricity alone. This leads the automaker to not be as concerned about customers wanting to charge their car wherever they go, since their owners are doing the charging overnight in their garage.
But we think that Volkswagen may have the upper-hand here. With other carmakers brushing off the CCS (maybe save for Tesla), VW may be able to play up the idea of staying connected and on the grid. Allowing customers to charge up wherever and whenever they want in such a short period of time creates a competitive advantage while putting to rest any range anxiety potential buyers may have about a plug-in vehicle.