DC Fast Charge

BMW, Volkswagen to Build Charging Network

January 27, 2015

BMW and Volkswagen aim to encourage U.S. consumers to buy electric vehicles by making sure there are enough places where they can charge their rides. Last week at the 2015 Washington Auto Show, Volkswagen of America and BMW of North America announced that they have partnered with ChargePoint to provide more charging stations on heavily-traveled thoroughfares in both the East Coast and West Coast.

ChargePoint is the biggest network of electric car chargers in the U.S., and the team-up of the two German carmakers will further expand this. The ChargePoint network currently consists of 20,000 charging locations, and BMW and VW will initially install 100 more. On the East Coast, chargers will be installed along Interstate 95 from Boston to Washington, D.C.; on the West Coast, these will be built in key locations in Portland, San Francisco, Los Angeles and San Diego. The stations will be no more than 50 miles apart, making charging more convenient for owners of electric vehicles who will be going on longer trips.

As expected, the charging stations will be installed near commercial spaces. These include restaurants and rest stops, among others. ChargePoint will help the automakers choose the right locations using its existing customer network.

The companies already started installation on the West Coast, beginning with San Diego County. The goal is to build almost 100 charging spots by the end of the year.

There are already many charging stations in the country, but the spots BMW and VW are working on are different. They are called “express charging corridors” for a reason—they allow fast charging for electric vehicles. In a joint statement, the automakers noted that each charging station will come with a pair of either (1) 50-kW DC Fast chargers or (2) 24-kW DC Combo Fast chargers that feature a SAE Combo connector. They claimed that the 50-kW charger can replenish 80 percent of the battery in 20 minutes while the 24-kW charger can do the same thing for 10 minutes more.

The charging stations will also have Level 2 chargers, the type commonly found in public charging spots. These provide electric cars 25 miles of range per hour.

There are over 280,000 electric cars on U.S. roads, and owners will appreciate the infrastructure that will enable them to go where they need to on their rides. While the BMW-VW charging corridors are a big help to motorists, these are also advantageous for the automakers themselves. With more charging spots in place, more people will be encouraged to purchase all-electric cars, including BMW’s i3 and VW’s e-Golf.

Photo credit: © Volkswagen of America, Inc./ media.vw.com

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