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“A sad state of affairs”: VW Group CEO Herbert Diess calls out shortcomings of IONITY charging network

Taking a road trip in an EV is no longer a novelty, but it’s still an instructive (and hopefully, fun) thing to do, and the EV road trip story remains an online literary staple. It’s especially interesting when an exec at an automaker takes a trip in one of their company’s new EV models—and even more so when the CEO chimes in with a pertinent comment.

Andreas Gross, Volkswagen’s Spokesperson for E-Mobility, posted an account of a trip he took with his family in the VW ID.3 (an electric hatch that’s a big hit in Europe, but sadly deemed too small to sell in the US), from Germany over the Brenner Pass down to Italy’s Lake Garda. He gives a detailed, mostly positive report of the ID.3 and of the public charging facilities he encountered.

One of the commenters on Herr Gross’s post was VW Group CEO Herbert Diess. He enjoyed Gross’s account of his trip, and noted that he had recently driven through the same highly scenic region, also in an ID.3. However, he had some bad things to say about the IONITY charging station at the Brenner Pass.

“Too few charging points at the Brenner! Only 4 – everyone stops there at the Shopping Center. Occupied,” wrote Diess. “No toilet, no coffee, one charging post out of service/defective—a sad state of affairs. This is anything but a premium charging experience, IONITY!”

“No toilet, no coffee, one charging post out of service/defective—a sad state of affairs. This is anything but a premium charging experience, IONITY!”

Like other high Alpine passes, the storied Brenner Pass suffers from multiple environmental issues. Massive amounts of auto and truck traffic spew forth fumes, which tend to settle in the steep mountain valleys. Widespread vehicle electrification would deliver outsize benefits to places like the Brenner.

Fortunately, this is one user comment that’s likely to spur some action. Volkswagen is one of the owners of the IONITY joint venture, and Diess is arguably the most EV-savvy CEO of any automaker at the moment. Members of the EV media noticed Diess’s comment and passed it on.

One of these was prolific EV writer John Voelcker, who tweeted, “This is encouraging: the CEO of a carmaker forcefully highlighting the inadequacies of on-road EV charging infrastructure. We need more of this. A lot more of this. Publicly.”

Source: Volkswagen

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