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VW Builds Massive Charging Station in the Desert, But It Hasn't Lost Its Mind

Charging an electric car is simple, right? You take the cable, pop open the port, plug it in like you've done with your phone charger hundredths of times before, and then find a way to kill some time while whatever it is that needs to happen to charge the battery does its thing.
Volkswagen Group of America charging station in Arizona 7 photos
Volkswagen Group of America charging station in ArizonaVolkswagen Group of America charging station in ArizonaVolkswagen Group of America charging station in ArizonaVolkswagen Group of America charging station in ArizonaVolkswagen Group of America charging station in ArizonaVolkswagen Group of America charging station in Arizona
Well, those unseen bits we take for granted require a lot of work and preparation to make sure everything goes as smoothly and predictable as possible. Because that's what everyone wants when they stop to charge their EVs: a simple, fuss-free experience that's over as quickly as possible.

However, one key aspect of charging an electric vehicle is making sure its battery remains at a constant, safe temperature. All those electrons moving back and forth - mostly forth, in this case - generate a lot of heat, so thermal management is important.

In colder climates, a bit of heat is welcome, but when outside temperatures can reach up to 120° Fahrenheit (49° Celsius) - in the shade, and there's not that much of it to be found - the risk of overheating is very real. And also very bad.

That's one of the reasons Volkswagen Group of America has built a massive 25-stall charging station in the middle of the Arizona desert near the company's proving grounds. The plan is to use the extreme conditions there to test every electric vehicle made by all VW Group brands using various charging scenarios.

The station is mostly fitted with DC fast chargers, but they come from various manufacturers. The power outputs available vary as well, from the lower end of 50 kW to the top-of-the-line 350 kW offered by Electrify America. There will also be ten AC chargers that mimic domestic use.

Once again, Volkswagen wants everyone to be clear it is serious about its electric ambitions, and building this station is a strong statement. Offering more EVs would be even stronger, but making a new car is infinitely more difficult and takes more time than building what is essentially a parking lot with a few third-party fancy power outlets. Besides, the EVs are starting to roll out as well, so you just need a little bit of patience.



 
 
 
 
 

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