BMW may not have been first, but the company has been working hard to increase awareness and adoption of electric vehicles, such as the new BMW i3.
While many people may see only limitations when it comes to electric vehicles, automakers such as Tesla Motors, General Motors, and BMW are trying to turn that notion on its head. The Chevy Volt and BMW i3 are both extended range electric vehicles, and eliminating range anxiety is one way to make ownership easier. The Tesla Model S eases range anxiety by offering more range and a nationwide fast-charging network. Other automakers have followed this lead, such as Nissan Leaf’s “No Charge to Charge” program, although we have yet to hear of any offering “free charging for life,” as Tesla Motors has.
With the introduction of the BMW i3, BMW will also be offering free charging on the eVgo Freedom Station network, but there’s one problem, sort of. First, the free charging program is only available at participating stations in California. This might not be much of an issue, especially if the BMW i3 is only offered in that state. However, buyers outside of California, whether sold or shipped there, won’t be able to take advantage of free fast-charging. Second, free fast-charging for the BMW i3 will only be available through 2015, which may be somewhat disappointing. Still, over a year’s worth of fast-charging is a lot of free driving!
BMW also introduced a new direct-current fast-charging station, using the SAE Combo connector, which is capable of 24 kW charging on the BMW i3 and other compatible battery electric vehicles. There are a number of fast-chargers out there, but BMW’s does something that others can’t. For example, while the typical fast-charger is about the size of a fridge, the BMW I DC Fast Charger is just about the size of a suitcase. It weighs about 100 lb, and can be mounted on a wall. Additionally, typical fast-chargers cost tens of thousands of dollars. Available in August, the new BMW charger will cost just $6,548, a significant savings for business owners looking to attract electric vehicle drivers to their part of town.
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