BMW Charging Station Blitz Will Target Tesla

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BMW Charging Station Blitz Will Target Tesla

Electric cars face at least two major challenges and BMW is planning to tackle one of them in 2015.

Adding more range to EVs is an ongoing process and not one that will be fixed quickly, but the problem of a limited charging infrastructure is an issue that’s about to become history.

That, at least, is the opinion of Jacob Harb, the head of electric vehicle sales and strategy for BMW of North America. “2015 is the year of infrastructure,” he said in an interview with AutoGuide.

SEE ALSO: BMW i8 Wins Reader’s Choice Green COTY

“In July we announced a game changing DC charger,” he said. Chargers of that variety are roughly the size of a household refrigerator and cost about $50,000 each. However, BMW’s new unit costs $6,500, measures 24×17 inches and can deliver an 80 percent charge in 30 minutes.

2014 Pebble Beach Concours BMW Press Conference.

“It’s size and convenience make it a game changer,” said Harb, saying that next year “[BMW will] proliferate those charging stations everywhere.”

The plan, he outlines, is to make buying a plug-in BMW a more attractive proposition by offering easy access to charging stations. BMW hopes that being a leader in this respect will naturally lead people to choose its plug-in cars over those of its competitors.

Currently BMW seems to be losing the green PR war to Tesla. Still, BMW has been having its own success with the i3 selling over 1,000 units per month for the past three months.

SEE ALSO: BMW i3 Review

Over the past year Tesla has rolled out its network of Superchargers with 135 in North America, allowing Tesla owners to drive from New York to L.A.While those chargers only work for Tesla vehicles, BMW’s new chargers will look to shift the infrastructure balance in favor of a new SEA standardized charging plug that works on all other plug in cars, minus Tesla and Nissan.

“I don’t think [Tesla is] going to be happy with how quickly these things roll out,” he said.

He declined to say how many chargers BMW is planning to install not yet prepared to say ahead of the official announcement planned for the North American International Auto Show next month in Detroit.

GALLERY: BMW i3

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GALLERY: BMW i8

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Discuss this story at our BMW forum.

  • Srki L

    I don’t understand why BMW has, war like rhetoric against startup company like Tesla.
    Yet another Tesla destroyer, keep ’em coming!
    Witch hunting propaganda machine loosing their believers so they have to push hard, seems like it.

  • ColumWood

    I think they feel the pressure, not just from Tesla but also from journalists like me who try to push them into saying something dramatic. We’re so used to BIG announcements from Elon Musk that we’d like to see the other players fight back.

  • Alan Dean Foster

    “…can deliver an 80 percent charge in 30 minutes.”

    That will give the i3 a range on electric alone of about 65 miles. Charging an s85 Tesla for 30 minutes will give you about a 75% charge, or about 200 miles. 150 miles + for an s60 model.
    Not impressed. 30 minutes of charging so you can drive for an hour. Also; Tesla’s superchargers are free. What about BMW’s setup?

  • ScepticMatt

    I wouldn’t call their 24 kW chargers “fast”. Let’s build those 200/350 kW combo chargers (CCS) that the German government wants instead. (Source: 4th NPE research report)

  • VulpineMac

    As I understand it, BMW would need to install more than twice as many of their ‘cheap’ charging stations just to equal the coverage of Tesla’s 135+ in the US. What they really need to pay attention to however, is the placement of these stations. Tesla saved some money by getting discounts at certain retail locations where a ‘captive audience’ would be more likely to spend the money they save not having to buy gasoline. Unless BMW does the same, they’ll have to pay more for each charging location. And while putting charging stands at BMW dealer lots might save them money one way, those lots aren’t necessarily in convenient locations for cross-country travelers.

  • VulpineMac

    As I see it so far, none of the other players CAN fight back; they simply don’t have the capabilities Tesla already provides.

    Oh, how’s that Scandinavian kid doing with his Tesla-fighter? The one that modified his old BMW 3-series into an all-wheel-drive drifter and intends to offer a 200+mile sport BEV to the public?

  • Mavi57

    “the network will include their “game changing” DC charger that will deliver an 80% charge in approximately 30 minutes.” 80% of what? An i3 (18.8 kWh) or i8 (7.1 kWh) battery? Game changing? Ridiculous! Tesla can sleep on both ears, nothing has happened yet or will happen for a long time.
    Anyway, let it come. Tesla will be using these stations as well using the appropriate adapter.

  • 80% of i3. These stations are only 24 kW, not much higher power than Tesla’s maximum AC charge with the optional dual charger.

    Still, for i3 owners these chargers will be far more convenient than the typical J1772 EVSE. If these chargers are well-sited at places where people are likely to spend < 30 minutes sitting, well-maintained and free-to-charge then BMW may draw some significant interest.

    The i3 is not a long range car, i.e. these chargers are unlikely to see significant use (and would be poorly suited for use) as mid-trip chargers. As long as the i3 can charge to full or nearly-full during typical activity time then the charge time cost is near-zero for the i3 owner. And that's what BMW should be targeting: convenience of use of EVs.