Volkswagen Australia boss calls for home EV charging support

Future vehicles should inspire private infrastructure changes, says new VW boss

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With the technological advance within the automotive industry pushing forward at a rapid rate, questions are being asked about how current infrastructure can continue to support the changing needs of motorists.

In an address at the Green Building Council’s Transform 22 summit, Volkswagen Group Australia (VGA) managing director Paul Sansom outlined the constraints electric vehicle owners face, explaining how shifting the focus towards greater support for home charging will benefit more than just the automotive industry.

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VGA managing director Paul Sansom

Sansom believes homes of the future set up adequately to support home charging of electric vehicles will enhance their value, in addition to being a more convenient solution for owners.

“The greatest misconception around EVs in this country remains so-called ‘range anxiety’,” said Sansom.

“The opportunity – the necessity – exists to transform this perception to a reality of convenience and enablement.

“By far the greater part of the time EVs will charge at work or home, meaning that we are for the first time being liberated from the necessity of traditional ‘filling’ stations.

"The creators of our built environment will provide accessible and efficient home charging. This will be the greatest enabler of zero emission vehicle ownership.

“Neither new houses nor new apartment buildings will be feasible without easy access to renewable EV charging; no more so than a home without internet access. There can be no doubt that the lack of such a facility will negatively affect the value of property.”

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Having served as Audi Australia's managing director for four years before moving across to VGA after the pair merged at the start of the year, Sansom knows the benefits of EVs from the premium approach of Audi to Volkswagen's mass-market strategy.

The rapid shift towards electrifying its line-up comes as Volkswagen previously announced its intentions to end internal combustion engine development by the end of the decade, although just 25 per cent of the brand's Australian fleet is expected to go fully-electric in the same time period.

This decision for the local market has been made in part due to the Federal Government's lack of universal support for EVs, although Volkswagen wants to show technology such as the vehicle-to-grid system found in the brand's MEB-platform EVs will allow the vehicles to offset emissions not only on the road but in domestic use.

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“VGA has said with reason that this otherwise enviable country of ours has lagged behind the rest of the First World in creating the conditions for zero emissions mobility," said Sansom.

"VGA was proud to speak in support of the New South Wales Government on the introduction of its world class EV adoption strategy. In terms of the global quest for sustainability, a zero emission vehicle fleet is a non-negotiable pre-condition.

"If we talk of transformation, consider the auto industry’s journey during the past decade. Its journey from being among the worst carbon emitters to the industry that is driving carbon neutrality is the definition of transformation.

"The most exciting, even life transforming aspect for our customers, will be in the growing interdependence between the cars we sell and the environment that many of the attendees at Transform 22 will construct.

"Vehicle-to-grid technology is a game changer with respect to accelerating EV uptake in Australia and reducing the national carbon footprint.

"Soon, our cars will become your own personal renewable energy ecosystem by using the car's battery to store solar power for domestic use in your homes."

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Volkswagen itself is currently yet to introduce an electric vehicle in Australia, however, Audi has launched a number of E-Tron models for the local market, including its upcoming flagship E-Tron GT, based on the same platform as the Porsche Taycan.

Sub-brand Skoda announced earlier this week it will be bringing its Enyaq iV range here in 2023, as Volkswagen's new performance off-shoot Cupra is set to launch the Born EV later this year – both of which are underpinned by the same MEB architecture as the VW EVs.


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