BMW is continuing its plan to make the transition to electric vehicles as simple as possible. The i3 is already a huge step in the right direction, as it introduces a Carbon Fiber Reinforced Plastic chassis, aluminum sub frames and a small gasoline range extender all at a relatively low price. The main goal is to get people into electric vehicles by taking as much of the compromise out of the equation as possible. Well, BMW i s now going one step further with the introduction of the i DC Fast Chargers and the ChargeNow DC Fast Program. BMW developed the i DC Fast Charger with the help of Bosch Automotive Service Solutions. The i DC Fast Charger is a small (31-by-19-by-12 inches), 100-pound box that owners can mount to a wall that will charge the battery up to 80 percent in 30 minutes. The i3’s Fast Charger will set you back to the tune of $6,548, which is cheap in comparison to most DC Fast Chargers. A standard charger will “fill up the tank” in about 6 to 8 hours. With that in mind the Fast Charger seems worth the premium, especially considering it’s a slick-looking, smallish unit that will fit nicely in most garages.
ChargeNow DC Fast is a program BMW has developed with the help of NRG eVgo, and will offer unlimited, no cost, 30-minute charging for i3 drivers in California until December 2015. This will help reduce range anxiety considerably on long trips through The Golden State. To access the ChargeNow DC Fast program, i3 owners must equip the DC Fast charger option, and sign up for a ChargeNow Card. Doing so will give owners access to all eVgo DC Fast chargers across California. Even at a price though, the ChargeNow program will help dramatically in the implementation of electric vehicles as primary cars for households. It still takes a bit longer than stopping at a gas station, but if placed properly, these ChargeNow stations can provide some resting time or even some sightseeing on long trips. This in tandem with the i DC Fast Charger in the home and the i3 becomes a very useful and eco-friendly option.
Click past the jump to read more about BMW’s new i DC Fast Chargers And ChargeNow DC Fast Programs.
Why It Matters
So as much as it pains me to say, the internal-combustion engine must go and we must embrace the electronic future.
Electric Vehicles are the future. Unfortunately for guys like us who read about horsepower figures and 0-to-60 times, the internal-combustion engine is dying. It has to. And if you think about it, it’s somewhat silly that over 100 years since it’s invention, in such a modern age where a handheld device can send information across the globe, we still rely on its outdated technology. So as much as it pains me to say, the internal-combustion engine must go and we must embrace the electronic future. That’s not to say it has to be boring, Tesla proved that an electric luxury sedan can be both interesting and fun, and BMW is proving that the small electric hatchback can be the same.
This change also doesn’t have to happen overnight either, BMW, Porsche , McLaren , and Ferrari have all proved what can be done with hybrid technology to make a car blood-boilingly exciting. The electric car has real promise, even to us gearheads. But to make this happen, we need to build a fast charging infrastructure and BMW seems to be making serious headway in this endeavor.
These in-home i DC Fast Chargers will make everyday life much simpler for i3 drivers. This way once you come home from your day, you aren’t stuck in your house for eight hours while it charges. A quick sandwich and a bathroom break and you’re out the door again. Add in the ChargeNow program and you don’t have to find a hotel every hundred miles or so. So with making these technologies so readily accessible, BMW is in turn making the i3 – or any EV for that matter – a very realistic everyday possibility. At the moment EV’s seem to be second cars, the car that you run quick errands in. But with these kind of programs, EV’s can be the main vehicle of the everyday working man or woman. One small step for BMW, one very large step for the Electric Vehicle.
BMW isn’t the only one with these kinds of ideas. Billionare Elon Musk and Tesla have been building Supercharging stations all across the country and are even starting in Europe. What’s even smarter is that they are placed cleverly, in strip malls and little shops, so that Tesla owners can sit down and have a coffee or do a little shopping while they charge their Model S . And even better than that, is the fact that these Supercharging stations are free to any Tesla owner who opted in or bought a model that included the Supercharger service. They can charge half of the battery in 20 minutes, or so, which is impressive relative to the BMW, considering the Model S has a much larger battery and far longer range.
BMW also isn’t the only one with DC Fast Chargers for the home, however it offers the best one. Nissan offers one for the Nissan Leaf , but while the BMW’s is the size of a large briefcase, the Leaf’s is the size of a large refrigerator. Not to mention the Bimmer’s $6,548 price tag seems like a steal compared to Nissan’s $15,500 Fast Charger. If you consider the fast charging stations into the base price both cars, the Leaf becomes $45,500 and the i3 $47,898. So the i3 comes at a $2,300 premium, but you get a faster, more spacious and far more technologically advanced car, and your fast charger isn’t the size of Honey Boo Boo’s mom.
All things considered, including the cheaper price for the fast charger, a good charging station program (even if it is only for Cali), and a lower MSRP than the Tesla Model S , the BMW i3 seems to be the best EV deal on the market. If BMW can keep up the good work, high quality, exciting electric vehicles are in our not so distant future.
At Plug-In 2014, a conference dedicated to discussing key issues for the long-term success of electric vehicles, BMW of North America launched its BMW i DC Fast Chargers which can charge the BMW i3 all-electric vehicle’s battery up to 80 percent in 30 minutes. A joint development between BMW and Bosch Automotive Service Solutions, BMW i DC Fast Chargers will change the face of public charging as the first compact and affordable DC Combo fast charger. The first BMW i DC Fast Charger will be on display at Plug-In 2014 on July 28 at the San Jose Convention Center. BMW also announced its new ChargeNow DC Fast program in cooperation with NRG eVgo, in which BMW i3 drivers in California can enjoy no cost unlimited 30 minute DC fast charging, at NRG eVgo Freedom Station® sites equipped with DC Combo Fast Charging, through 2015.
Introducing the BMW i DC Fast Charger
Conventional DC fast chargers are about the size of a standard refrigerator, cost tens of thousands of dollars and require a significant amount of electricity. Half the size of a traditional electric vehicle DC charger – measuring 31”H x 19”W x 12”D and weighing approximately 100 pounds – BMW i DC Fast Chargers can be mounted on a wall, a first for electric vehicle DC fast chargers. In addition, BMW i DC Fast Chargers will be priced significantly less than other DC Combo chargers in the market at $6,548 for authorized BMW partners.
“This is a milestone in the development of the DC fast charging infrastructure. With more than five years of real world experience, we understand that a robust network of publicly available DC Combo Fast Chargers is a key part of the mobility of tomorrow,” said Robert Healey, EV Infrastructure Manager, at BMW of North America. “BMW is offering the BMW i DC Fast Charger at an appealing price point, and more manageable size, to make the convenience of DC fast charging more accessible for BMW i3 owners.”
The 24 kW DC Fast Charger feeds the current directly to the vehicle’s battery, resulting in a more efficient and faster charge. BMW i DC Fast Chargers use the SAE Combo 1 connector, the North American automotive industry standard for fast charging; feature a rugged aluminum IP54 enclosure; meet NEMA 3 requirements; and are designed to perform in extreme weather conditions, from -40°F to 185°F. Additionally, the BMW i DC Fast Charger is ChargePoint network-enabled, allowing electric vehicle drivers with the SAE Combo 1 inlet to access the BMW i DC Fast Charger using a ChargePoint or ChargeNow card. Major automakers including BMW, GM, Ford, Chrysler, Daimler, Volkswagen, Audi and Porsche have committed to adopting the SAE Combo 1 inlet for DC charging.
The BMW i DC Fast Chargers will be available for BMW i Centers across the U.S. beginning in August.
Introducing ChargeNow DC Fast for BMW i3 Drivers
In keeping with its holistic approach to making DC fast charging more accessible and, in turn, increasing the adoption of electric vehicles, BMW, in cooperation with NRG eVgo, will offer no cost charging to BMW i3 drivers at participating eVgo Freedom Station sites equipped with DC Combo Fast Charging in California through 2015.
Using their ChargeNow cards, BMW i3 drivers will have access to unlimited 30-minute DC fast charging sessions with the ChargeNow DC Fast program. BMW i3 owners can sign up easily for ChargeNow DC Fast at chargenow.com/us. In order to receive the full benefits of the program, BMW i3 drivers must use the ChargeNow card, provided with their BMW i3, to charge the vehicle at least once by December 31, 2014, at a participating eVgo Freedom Station. By doing so, BMW i3 drivers will enjoy continued access to no cost DC charging sessions through the end of 2015. Eligible BMW i3 vehicles must be equipped with the DC Fast Charging option (SAE).
“We’re confident the rapidly-expanding NRG eVgo DC Fast Charging network will provide significant benefits to BMW i3 drivers in California,” continued Mr. Healey. “With the cooperation between ChargePoint and NRG eVgo, ChargeNow DC Fast brings us closer to the reality of one card, one account public charging network interoperability.”
eVgo will deploy a minimum of 100 BMW i3 compatible DC Fast Chargers across California to support the ChargeNow DC Fast Program.