23 October 2020
Hoping to boost sales of electric vehicles (EVs), some OEMs are looking to make charging more attractive. By providing ‘free electric miles’, introductory infrastructure or comprehensive charging packages, carmakers are keen to remove another barrier to EV purchase, charge anxiety.
In the UK, Audi has teamed up with energy supplier Octopus to offer 5,000 ‘free electric miles’ (over 8,000km). Volkswagen (VW) is rolling out wallboxes and a recharge service with the release of the ID. family in Europe. Meanwhile, Ford has set up partnerships with infrastructure installation service providers to deliver charging at home.
5,000 free electric miles
Audi UK will team up with green energy provider Octopus to offer its EV owners the opportunity to travel for up to 5,000 miles for free. Owners of the e-Tron or TFSI e plug-in hybrid (PHEV) models, can claim £90 (€99) account credit when they switch to Octopus as their home energy provider.
This should provide an e-Tron Sportback 55 quattro with enough electricity for as many as 5,000 miles, based on a usable battery capacity of 86.5 kWh and a WLTP range of 241 miles, giving an efficiency average of 0.36 kWh/mile.
This could account for almost 70% of the annual mileage private drivers in the UK cover on average, according to the RAC. Because Octopus offers 100% renewable electricity, these Audi EV owners can also drive around safe in the knowledge that green energy sources power their car.
‘Audi is taking a root and branch approach to the challenge of minimising the environmental impact of its cars at every stage of their lifecycle,’ said director of Audi UK Andrew Doyle. ‘It makes total sense for us to endorse and work with Octopus, because its 100% clean energy can help our customers to scale back that impact even further at a local level without committing to contracts or paying inflated green premiums. I hope this attractive offer encourages many more of them to do so.’
Audi is also supporting its e-Tron customers away from home with a free 12-month subscription to their charging service if they order before the end of the year, as well as account credit which is equivalent to around 1,000 miles’ worth of electricity at no extra cost. The charging service operates off one payment card that is valid at a number of charge points operated by 18 suppliers, with network coverage of over 50% across the UK.
150,000 public charging points
In July, VW announced it was rolling out its own charging service to coincide with the market launch of the ID. family. The We Charge card will allow customers to plug in at over 150,000 public points across Europe. With a choice of three tariffs to choose from, customers are covered from casual use to regular recharging, with the option to access Ionity’s high-power charging network.
‘As e-mobility increasingly takes to the road, public charging is becoming ever more important. With We Charge, Volkswagen is offering customers the right solution for swift, hassle-free travel in Germany and Europe – electric, eco-friendly and above all, convenient,’ said Richard van Tatenhove, head of digital charging services at VW.
With the launch of the ID. Charger in June, customers also got access to an introductory price of €399 from dealerships or online portals in eight European countries. While it was developed with the ID. family in mind, the box can be used on all other electric cars with a Type 2 connector. Three versions will be introduced, all with a charging capacity of up to 11kW, a permanently mounted Type 2 charging cable and integrated DC residual current protection for maximum safety.
Comprehensive charging infrastructure
At the start of this month, Ford announced Mustang Mach-E owners will receive ‘all the equipment and support they need for a seamless, stress-free and confidence-inspiring all-electric vehicle ownership experience.’
By establishing partnerships with six installation companies to cover 14 European markets, the carmaker is looking to deliver charging solutions at home with its Connected Wallbox. Mustang Mach-E customers placing an order in 2020 and 2021 will also receive five years free access to the Ford Pass Charging Network, which sports 155,000 stations, and one year of free access to the Ionity fast-charging network.
‘Instilling confidence is the key to encouraging greater numbers of drivers to discover the benefits of electrification,’ said Stuart Rowley, president, Ford of Europe. ‘Ford is providing a complete infrastructure to make owning our Mustang Mach-E effortless; from free access to a leading pan-European charging network, to the right cable for charging at home, right the way down to the gloves to keep that cable clean.’
By breaking down one of the big barriers to their adoption, carmakers could significantly boost confidence in EVs.