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Jordan Perch loves automotive innovation and that is his ultimate passion. He is managing the resourceful DMV.com and is an active contributor to numerous consumer and automotive blogs.

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BMW and Volkswagen Partnering Up With ChargePoint to Build Fast-Charging Stations

Posted February 11, 2015 9:01 AM by Jordan Perch
Pathfinder Tags: bmw ChargePoint stations volkswagen

It's a well-known fact that charging scarcity is holding back EV adoption, and that setting up a charging infrastructure is a huge challenge that requires cooperation between the private sector, public authorities and automotive manufacturers. That's why, even though some U.S. states invest millions of dollars to build EV charging stations, automakers have to step up, as well, and help expand the EV charging network. Tesla was one of the first manufacturers to build their own charging stations, and now, BMW and Volkswagen are ready to follow suit and work on the availability of public chargers.


In a bid to catch up with Tesla in the race for supremacy in the EV market, and address the range anxiety issue that is plaguing the EV movement, the German car makers plan on investing a significant amount of money to build charging stations across the U.S. over the next twelve months. To do that, they have joined forces with ChargePoint, the company that currently operates over 20,000 public charging stations.


BMW and Volkswagen have announced that they are going to build about 100 fast-charging stations by the end of 2015, that will be using the Combined Charging Standard (CSS) protocol. This means that unlike the Tesla Superchargers, which can only be used by Model S owners, the stations that will be built by BMW and Volkswagen will be compatible with all EVs, regardless of the manufacturer.


All stations will be fitted with two 50-kW DC fast chargers, or 24-kW DC Combo Fast chargers with the SAE Combo connector, along with a 240-Volt Level 2 charger. The 50-kW fast chargers can recharge an EV battery 80 percent of its capacity in about 20 minutes, or about 10 minutes faster than the 24-kW chargers.


The stations will be installed along the East and West Coasts, on routes that are most frequently traveled by electric cars. "A goal of nearly 100 DC Fast charging ports will be installed to support long distance and metropolitan electric vehicle travel with the BMW i3, Volkswagen e-Golf and other electric cars, along heavily trafficked corridors on both coasts, supported by Level 2 chargers," said the companies in a press release.


The ones on the East Coast will be placed along Interstate 95 and are intended to connect Boston and Washington, whereas the West Coast network will cover San Francisco, Los Angeles, San Diego and Portland. Distance between two stations will not exceed 50 miles, which means that road trips along these routes in almost any electric car currently available for purchase will be possible. The companies said that most of the stations will be installed at rest stops, restaurants, and shopping centers. Almost all stations will be funded by the two German manufacturers.


It may seem a bit odd that BMW and Volkswagen will allow people driving EVs built by other car makers to use the stations that they have funded, but the German automakers' goal with this project is to accelerate EV growth, rather than gaining competitive advantage. Putting the supporting infrastructure in place benefits everyone who wants to see EVs become mainstream, so investing in charging stations now, when these vehicles are still somewhat of a novelty, will definitely help expand the EV market.

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Re: BMW and Volkswagen Partnering Up With ChargePoint to Build Fast-Charging Stations

02/12/2015 8:32 AM

Considering the E golf only manages 60 miles per charge (real world) and the I3 gets 72 (at best) that's going to require a lot of charging stations for anything but short jaunt city commutes.

Maybe they should spend their money developing longer range vehicles. Oh wait, they don't have to spend the money, all the Tesla patents are public domain. They only have to actually use them.

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