Shortly before the market launch of its full-electric car sharing service WeShare in Berlin at the end of June, Volkswagen has concluded a strategic partnership with the Lidl and Kaufland supermarket chains, which are owned by the Schwarz Group.
The food retailers are to install 140 public charging stations for the electric vehicles of their customers at 60 Lidl and 10 Kaufland branches in the German capital. Volkswagen is to receive the exclusive right to use the new infrastructure for charging its WeShare fleet overnight outside opening hours, which will make the utilisation of the charging stations more efficient. The additional charging points at Lidl and Kaufland outlets will boost the public charging infrastructure in Berlin by almost 20 percent.
Christian Senger, member of the board of management of the Volkswagen Passenger Cars brand responsible for Digital Car and Services, says: “Supermarkets are the filling stations of the future. Charging while you shop is an ideal solution. On average, just 45 minutes at a fast charging station are sufficient for an e-Golf. Together with Lidl and Kaufland, we are improving charging possibilities for customers and especially for our WeShare fleet. This is the next consistent step by Volkswagen in its efforts to provide area-wide coverage with charging points in public spaces via partnership arrangements.”
Wolf Tiedemann, head of central services, Lidl Deutschland comments: “We want to shape urban mobility. With our many locations on major traffic nodes in Berlin, we can develop a city-wide network of charging stations. During the daytime, our customers will benefit from the growing number of charging points and we will make a meaningful contribution to the mobility transition in Germany.”
Jorg Dahlke, head of International Construction with Kaufland: “Car sharing with electric vehicles definitely needs to be supported. This is why we are very pleased to make our existing charging stations available to the WeShare fleet outside our opening hours. This way, more people will benefit from this environmentally compatible technology. This is entirely in line with our own e-mobility strategy.”
Volkswagen’s charging strategy is based on the assumption that about 50 percent of charging operations for electric cars will be carried out by customers at home in future, 20 percent at the place of work, 5 percent along highways and no less than 25 percent in public spaces. Volkswagen is already equipping private homes and workplaces with charging systems via its recently established subsidiary Elli and is working towards the development of a fast charging network on major European highways under the IONITY umbrella.
In Berlin, up to 70 charging stations are to be installed in three phases up to 2020. These will mainly be fast charging stations with a power rating of 50 kW which will be able to charge two vehicles simultaneously, one at a fast charging point and one at a normal charging point. The 140 charging points are to be available to supermarket customers during the opening hours of the Lidl and Kaufland branches. From 11 p.m. to 6:30 a.m., the WeShare vehicle fleet will have exclusive charging rights.
Volkswagen WeShare is currently in the final test phase and will officially enter the market at the end of the month as a full-electric car-sharing service. At the beginning, the fleet will consist of 1,500 e-Golf vehicles, which will be joined by 500 e-up! units at the beginning of 2020. In mid- 2020, the first full-electric Volkswagen model based on the new MEB platform, the ID.3 will also enter the fleet. WeShare is to start in Berlin. The roll-out to other cities in Germany and other countries is in the planning stage.