Volkswagen steps up its Tesla chase, to double up on charging infrastructure

A Reuters report has it that Volkswagen plans to double staff numbers at its charging and energy division, roll out new payment technology next year and strike more alliances to take on Tesla in a key electric vehicle (EV) battleground: power infrastructure.

By ensuring there are enough fast-charging plugs – and enough power – for the EVs it wants to sell, Europe’s biggest carmaker hopes to convince drivers worried about battery ranges that they can ditch their fossil fuel cars for good.

Underlining its electric ambition, Volkswagen has drafted in power industry veteran Elke Temme, who spent nearly two decades at German energy companies RWE and Innogy, to help the carmaker get in better shape to take on Tesla.

In the job since January, Temme, 53, has been tasked with bundling the carmaker’s various power activities such as procuring energy, enabling customers to charge their cars at home, and on the road, and selling the electricity required.

Getting this done will require a bigger workforce and Temme plans to double the staff at Volkswagen’s European charging and energy division, known as Elli, to about 300 in 2022, having already tripled it this year.

Volkswagen leads the pack worldwide by far with its investment plans for EVs and batteries through 2030, according to a Reuters analysis and it is planning to spend 35 billion euros on battery EVs by 2025.

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