Volkswagen Group of America (VWGoA) opened a 50-space charging station at its Arizona Proving Grounds to help the company test battery and charging performance in scorching weather. VWGoA says it is “one of the most extensive EV charging stations”.
The site is located at VWGoA’s global test facility in Maricopa, Arizona, with sixteen parking spots to accommodate 50 electric vehicles in turns. A remote-controlled canopy allows the test engineers to simulate the full sun and shaded conditions. The charging stations that line the site comprise ten Level 2 AC chargers as well as 25 DC chargers, ranging from 50 over 150 to 350kW chargers for high power charging.
The charge points utilise charge plugs from the three standard connector types, the CCS versions for Europe and the US as well as the China GB-T standard. VW says they will also install pads to test inductive charging and all charging equipment comes from different brands “to maximise testing variability”.
The Arizona facility is one of two sites worldwide where the VW Group can test electric vehicles in weather conditions up to up to 120 degrees Fahrenheit, that’s almost 49 degrees Celsius. To withstand (or not) the extreme conditions, the charging stations feature safety controls, including a battery temperature monitoring system, developed in-house. VW says the system has led to the world’s first battery cooling system designed to prevent overheating damage in a severe emergency.
Engineers receive real-time data to see how various chargers compare while sitting in a small building in the centre of the charging station that shelters humans from the heat.
Dr Wolfgang Demmelbauer-Ebner, Chief Engineering Officer for Volkswagen North America, considers the location a reaffirmation of the company’s commitment to the US market. “The opening of this charging station means one of the most sophisticated EV testing facilities in the world with some of the toughest conditions on earth will be right here in the United States,” he added.
The charging station was built in partnership with Electrify America for an estimated nine million dollars. Construction began in early 2019 and was completed in February 2020. VWGoA received the final certification this month, and the station is now ready for use.
vw.com (with images)