Electric Vehicles

VW partners with Electrify America to give ID.4 owners 3 years of unlimited charging

The Volkswagen ID.4 will debut this year.

Photo courtesy of Volkswagen AG

The 2021 Volkswagen ID.4 will be uvelied later this month. Before it is shown sans camouflage to the public, the automaker has revealed a plan that would give ID.4 owners three year of unlimited, free charging on Electrify America's nationwide network of ultra-fast chargers.

Electrify America currently has more than 470 charging stations and over 2,000 DC fast chargers nationwide. The company currently boasts two cross-country charging routes and recently announced a partnership with Love's Travel Stops for additional charging station placement. Additionally, the company will soon compete with Amazon and sell Electrify Home charging units, complete with installation.

Electrify Home Electrify America will compete with Amazon by selling at-home EV charging stations. Photo courtesy of Electrify America

Electrify America is currently the only open, public charging network to offer chargers with power levels up to 350 kilowatts. Across the country, 96 percent of the population live within 120 miles of an Electrify America charger.

"With a relentless commitment to driving the electric vehicle industry forward, Electrify America opened DC fast-charging stations at an accelerated pace of 1.2 per business day in 2019," said Giovanni Palazzo, president and chief executive officer of Electrify America. "As more and more electric vehicles are introduced to the market, and consumer interest grows, we are excited to announce this agreement with Volkswagen to deliver fast and accessible charging to ID.4 customers and a new wave of EV adopters."

"The ID.4 was engineered, loaded and priced to win the hearts of SUV owners who are simply ready to go electric—and fall in love with Volkswagen again," said Scott Keogh, CEO, Volkswagen Group of America. "By adding three years of fast charging at no additional cost through Electrify America, we are eliminating all barriers for mainstream compact SUV buyers to go electric."

Electrify America continues to expand. The company plans to install or have under development approximately 800 total charging stations with about 3,500 DC fast chargers by December 2021.

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Bruce Pascal is one of the most devoted Hot Wheels collectors on the planet.

Photo courtesy of Bruce Pascal

The first Hot Wheels arrived in stores in 1968 and it wasn't long until they became the number one toy. Bruce Pascal was seven years old at the time and remembers the toy immediately becoming popular with his circle of friends.

"It's hard to explain the craze today, but Hot Wheels was huge. All of my friends were saving up to buy all the Hot Wheels they could," Pascal said.

While he was growing up, Pascal, like kids across the country, kept his Hot Wheels in a cigar box. As he grew up, the cigar box gathered more dust, sitting on a shelf for 30 years until Pascal rediscovered the collection in 1999.

Volkswagen Beach Bomb Hot Wheels The pink Volkswagen Beach Bomb is the most sought-after Hot Wheels car in the world. Photo courtesy of Bruce Pascal

"That excited feeling I had as a boy was rekindled instantly," said Pascal. "My friend offered to pay me $200 for the cigar box. I declined and held onto them, but it was his offer that made me start researching the value of Hot Wheels and pursuing collecting as an adult."

His search became a bit obsessive. Pascal began calling other collectors, taking out newspaper ads, and even used a 1969 telephone book of Mattel employees to see if any former workers had rare toys they would be willing to part with for a price. He collected everything he could, including Hot Wheels memorabilia like blueprints, original drawings, sales brochures, and wood models.

His collection grew from that cigar box to thousands of Hot Wheels. Yet Pascal was not satisfied. He still had not found the one Hot Wheels vehicle that was alluding him, the most valuable Volkswagen ever produced - the pink Volkswagen Beach Bomb prototype.

The model was a bit of a folly. When VW and Hot Wheels initially created it, the car's narrow body and surf boards out the back window made the vehicle unable to stay upright when rolled. So, it was redesigned and the sides became more weighted and the surfboards were moved to the sides of the vehicle. This was the model that made it into production. The Beach Bomb was sold with a sticker sheet of flowers to decorate the vehicle, an offering that was very of its time.

Volkswagen Beach Bomb Hot Wheels There are only two of the pink models in existence.Photo courtesy of Bruce Pascal

The original prototypes with the surfboards out the back window are extremely rare, as only Hot Wheels employees had access to them. Of these prototypes, the pink ones are the rarest of all. There are only two known to be in existence.

"I already had heard about [the Beach Bomb] in purple, green, red, light blue and gold. I even had heard about an unpainted model," said Pascal. "But pink was extremely hard to find. Most Hot Wheels models were marketed to young boys, who the brand assumed didn't want to play with pink. They created just a few pink [Beach Bomb] models to market to their female audience."

Eventually, Pascal networked his way into purchasing both pink Beach Bombs models. He has since sold one of them to another friend and collector, but the one that is in the best condition has stayed with him.

Today, Pascal owns over 4,000 Hot Wheels models and about 3,000 pieces of memorabilia, but the pink Volkswagen Beach Bomb remains his most prized possession.

"I won't say how much I purchased it for," said Pascal, "but it is worth an estimated $150,000 today."

To help prevent sun damage, the Beach Bomb remains in a dark, Plexiglass case. Pascal displays the model in his personal museum in Maryland, where he gives private tours to other Hot Wheels enthusiasts. He has also loaned the model out to other automotive museums and events for display.

"I want other people to experience the Beach Bomb. I've found so much joy in learning about classic cars and Hot Wheels, and I hope I can spark some of that in other people. It's a treasure to find these rare models," Pascal said.

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Archer Aviation wants to become the first all-electric airline.

Photo courtesy of Archer Aviation
CES is all about the technology of the future. The future of transportation may be all-electric airships. Archer Aviation, a Silicon Valley startup is partnering with Fiat Chrysler Automobiles for the manufacturing and production of its composite, electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft. Production is set to kick off in 2023.

As part of the deal, Archer will benefit from FCA's positioning in the supply chain, advanced composite material capabilities, and design experience. The agreement accelerates Archer's timeline in development of the aircraft, which is set to be part of a fleet that makes the world's first all-electric airline.

Delta shouldn't be worried, however. The 100-percent electric aircrafts Archer will produce are designed to travel 60 miles at just 150 mph. Think of it as light rail for the sky.

"We've been hyper-focused on a customer-first approach to vehicle design and aircraft operations," said Brett Adcock, co-founder and co-CEO of Archer. "Now we are working with a seasoned, industry-leading automotive partner to leverage cost benefits and experience that will allow Archer to produce thousands of aircraft reliably and affordably every single year."

The first eVOTL aircraft from Archer will be publicly shown in early 2021. It will include cockpit design elements from FCA.

"Electrification within the transportation sector whether on roads or in the air is the future and with any new and rapidly developing technology, scale is important," said Doug Ostermann, vice president and head of global business development of FCA. "Our partnership with Archer has mutual benefits and will enable innovative, environmentally friendly transportation solutions to be brought to market at an accelerated pace.

"We are excited to team up with one of the world's largest automotive companies on our mission of advancing the benefits of sustainable air mobility," said Adam Goldstein, co-founder and co-CEO of Archer. "This is a first-of-its-kind deal for one of Detroit's Big Three automakers in moving into the urban air mobility space. There is now a clear path for Archer to bring mass production to this industry, changing the way people travel in and around cities forever."

Late last year, Lilium laid out plans to put an eVOTL-only airport in Orlando, Florida. At last year's CES Hyundai and Uber showcased the potential of an air taxi partnership.

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