VW launches Plug & Charge. Herbert Diess promises that the software update (3.1) will be available in June. But: Not all providers participate.
As promised at the end of 2021, VW is expanding the scope of services of its electric vehicles to include the so-called "Plug & Charge" function. This supplements the current authentication via charging card or app and makes charging even easier. As soon as the customer plugs in the charging cable, encrypted communication starts between the car and the charging station according to the ISO 15118 standard. This authentication only takes a few seconds, then the loading process begins. Billing runs via VW's own charging service "We Charge". According to Volkswagen, Plug & Charge will be used in the networks of Ionity , Aral , bp , E.ON , Iberdrola , Enel and Eviny .
According to VW boss Herbert Diess, things will start as early as May 2022. As soon as version 3.1 of the ID.Software is ready, all newly produced MEB-based vehicles will automatically roll off the yard. The existing fleet (including all fully electric Skoda and Cupra models) should have software version 3.1 installed from June 2022 via an over-the-air update (OTA). Above all, this is an extremely sporty schedule because the ID fleet actually only has to make the big software jump to version 3.0 by mid-2022 at least.
Duel of the systems: Plug & Charge vs. Auto-Charge
The actually good news, however, has a not insignificant catch: By focusing on Plug & Charge , the car manufacturer is opposing the system used by Fastnet and EnBW Auto Charge . The technically much simpler system is based on a connection to the charging station operator (Charge Point Operator, CPO for short) instead of to the Mobility Service Provider (MSP), as with Plug & Charge. VW officially promises more flexibility for customers, since Auto-Charge is tied to a charging station operator with the appropriate function and contract. Plug & Charge, on the other hand, is independent of the charging station operator, so that customers can drive to more charging stations in a similar way to their roaming charging card or roaming charging app. The bottom line is that the duel between the two payment systems in the first step ensures that VW customers with a vehicle based on MEB cannot go on tour without a charging card or app. In the future, VW drivers will still have to register manually at EnBW or Fastned auto-charge stations using an app or card.
Nobody should say that they don't see the software updates at VW as very sporty. The ID.Software 3.0 has not yet been rolled out in the existing fleet, which VW boss Herbert Diess promises in a LinkedIn post for the next expansion of the scope of services. Version 3.1 should make all MEB cars ready for Plug & Charge via OTA update. Basically good news. The devil is in the details. Because with Plug & Charge and Auto-Charge two systems are fighting for dominance, which of course are not compatible with each other, it remains complicated not only for VW customers. And that's more than annoying.