German rival automakers BMW – the world’s largest premium brand and Volkswagen – Europe’s best selling passenger car marquee, have united their forces with ChargePoint in the US to implement a network of fast-charging stations for electric vehicles.
The stations can serve both purely battery-operated electric cars as well as plug-in hybrid vehicles, according to the companies as they plan to build almost 100 ChargePoint ports in the US, located mostly on the East and West Coasts. They would be ready by the end of the year and emphasize the need to spur lagging sales of such electric models – the BMW i3 and VW e-Golf. ChargePoint is one of the North American leaders of EV charging networks, with at least 20,000 ports across the region. According to experts, even though electric vehicles are relegated mostly to urban duties, with the possibility to be recharged both at home and at work, most people would find the lack of a widespread recharging network as a large barrier when purchasing such a vehicle.
The BMW/VW move follows in the footsteps of California-based electric carmaker Tesla Motors, which has embarked in the quest of having an extensive network of fast-charging stations, dubbed Superchargers, to be used by its only car in production, the Model S luxury sedan. The network has grown to more than 350 stations around the globe, with 160 in the US and Canada and a total of more than 2,000 charging ports. Because the Model S owners can recharge their batteries for free, the network uses a proprietary design.