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BMW i DC Fast ChargerFrom solar chargeports to the first SAE Combo Fast Charger, BMW is offering or promoting more charging options for the i3 than most people will know what to do with. This is not a bad thing.

At the Plug-In 2014 conference happening in San Jose, CA this week, BMW announced a new i DC Fast Charging unit as well as the ChargeNow DC Fast program, which is similar in some ways to Nissan's No Charge To Charge.

Let's start with the chargers. Smaller and much cheaper than other DC fast chargers, an i DC Fast Charger costs just $6,548 plus installation. Remember, it was a big deal in 2011 when Nissan's DC fast charger was less than $10,000. The i DC Fast Chargers use the SAE Combo connector, so will also work in EVs from Ford, VW and Chevy and other automakers, when available. They take 30 minutes to charge an empty i3 to 80 percent full. All a driver will need in order to use the charger is a ChargePoint (or ChargeNow) card. Most of the first units will likely end up at BMW i dealers across the US.

In a separate announcement, the ChargeNow DC Fast program will allow BMW i3 drivers to get free charging until the end of 2015 at participating NRG eVgo Freedom Stations. The catch is that they need to use the ChargeNow card at least once by the end of 2014. eVgo is promising to install at least 100 compatible DC fast chargers in California by the end of next year, so this should be relatively easy in at least one of the 50 states.

We will have more from San Jose soon.
Show full PR text
BMW Unveils BMW i DC Fast Chargers and ChargeNow DC Fast program at Plug-In 2014.

BMW i DC Fast Chargers, developed in collaboration with Bosch Automotive Service Solutions, are half the size of current DC Combo fast chargers, compatible with multiple electric vehicles and significantly more affordable.

BMW i DC Fast Chargers run on the ChargePoint network giving BMW i3 drivers access with a ChargePoint or ChargeNow card.

ChargeNow DC Fast enables BMW i3 drivers to charge at no cost, at participating NRG eVgo Freedom Stations equipped with DC Combo Fast Charging, through 2015.

San Jose, CA/Woodcliff Lake, NJ – July 28, 2014... 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.

BMW Group In America

BMW of North America, LLC has been present in the United States since 1975. Rolls-Royce Motor Cars NA, LLC began distributing vehicles in 2003. The BMW Group in the United States has grown to include marketing, sales, and financial service organizations for the BMW brand of motor vehicles, including motorcycles, the MINI brand, and the Rolls-Royce brand of Motor Cars; DesignworksUSA, a strategic design consultancy in California; a technology office in Silicon Valley and various other operations throughout the country. BMW Manufacturing Co., LLC in South Carolina is part of BMW Group's global manufacturing network and is the exclusive manufacturing plant for all X5 and X3 Sports Activity Vehicles and X6 Sports Activity Coupes. The BMW Group sales organization is represented in the U.S. through networks of 339 BMW passenger car and BMW Sports Activity Vehicle centers, 139 BMW motorcycle retailers, 120 MINI passenger car dealers, and 35 Rolls-Royce Motor Car dealers. BMW (US) Holding Corp., the BMW Group's sales headquarters for North America, is located in Woodcliff Lake, New Jersey.

Journalist note: Information about BMW Group and its products in the USA is available to journalists online at www.bmwusanews.com and www.press.bmwna.com.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 38 Comments
      PeterScott
      • 4 Months Ago
      This highlights the early days situation we are in, with charging standards. It will likely take many years until the standards shake out settle down to hopefully one connector that everyone can use. I think a lot of the placements are haphazard as well. In city charging is more a convenience, rather a necessity and is a hard sell if they plan to charge for it, because most people will charge adequately at home, and no really need in city charging. Important locations for charging: Home charging: This is likely to always be #1 by a large margin. Almost no one would consider buying an EV without a home charging options. So Condo/Apartment chargers are a big need to open the market more. Work charging: This is the second place where most cars spend the longest sitting, and would benefit commuters by shrinking battery needs. Fast Highway Charging: AKA, the Supercharger network. Hotel charging: EV roadtrips could use some destination charging capability.
      paulwesterberg
      • 4 Months Ago
      That's a cheap "Fast" DC charger, too bad it only provides 24kW which means it will only seem fast when charging vehicles with small batteries. A far cry from a 120kW Tesla Supercharger.
        Rotation
        • 4 Months Ago
        @paulwesterberg
        It's the same rate charger for all cars. It'll add almost 100 miles per hour. Sure, a Tesla can charge longer on something like this than a car with a small battery. But it also takes longer to deplete the Tesla battery that far. The real way to measure charging speed is versus the distance you drove, not the maximum distance you could drive. Unless you are road tripping it, this will be quite satisfactory. And if you are road-tripping it you'll be upset at having to stop every hour anyway. Small battery EVs just aren't best suited for road trips, regardless of the charge rate.
          paulwesterberg
          • 4 Months Ago
          @Rotation
          This charger is fine for the i3 & i8, but doesn't offer much headroom for longer distance EVs from BMW.
          Rotation
          • 4 Months Ago
          @Rotation
          Again, it's fine for all of them. Just because your car has more range doesn't mean you need more charge. Unless you're road-tripping it you'll be okay. I don't think the i8 DCFCs.
          jeff
          • 4 Months Ago
          @Rotation
          But it is FAR LESS MILES of range in the same charge time....
      Aaron
      • 4 Months Ago
      "The i DC Fast Chargers use the SAE Combo connector, so will also work in EVs from Ford, VW and Chevy and other automakers, when available." Ford has no EV or PHEV that is compatible with the SAE Combo connector (CCS).
        Spec
        • 4 Months Ago
        @Aaron
        Well, it does say 'when available'. But, yeah, Ford has no currently available or planned EV that will support CCS. Chrysler also sucks in that they are a CCS signatory but they have yet to put CCS into their Fiat 500e which was supposedly designed to make it easy to support. GM only has the Spark EV that is only available in California and Oregon, but that is better than nothing. And GM does supposedly have a 200 mile range EV on the way.
      purrpullberra
      • 4 Months Ago
      Nice, I guess, if you live, work or shop near a BMW dealership. The range is small enough on the i3 that planning a lot of mileage driving one makes little sense. Needing a few miles to get back home is one thing but needing(!) 80% of 80 miles in 30 minutes means you need a different EV. I really like the i3 a LOT but it can't be a car to drive 200 miles a day. Whatever, it's getting things rolling that much more. I just doubt these things will get anywhere near the usage of a Supercharger for comparison.
      icharlie
      • 4 Months Ago
      It would be nice if someone clarified the standards and the differences. I thought CHAdeMO was Level 3 DC fast charging but the plug looks different from anything else I've see. I think it's time someone updates or clarifies a list of what's available now.
        JakeY
        • 4 Months Ago
        @icharlie
        Press release says it uses the SAE Combo1 connector on the i3 (which makes sense). This connector is also on the Spark EV (and will be on the VW e-Golf). Basically every non-Japanese automaker will use this standard (except Tesla). CHAdeMO was never an internationally accepted standard. Officially SAE picked the Combo (CCS) standard, and the EU officially backs the CCS standard also (although they are okay with dual CHAdeMO/CCS connector stations for now).
        Rotation
        • 4 Months Ago
        @icharlie
        It's not Level 3 DCFC. It is level 1 DCFC. It charges at a rate which would be almost L3 if it were AC, but it isn't AC. DC and AC have different level cutoffs.
      • 4 Months Ago
      Just checked the NRG website for local stations. I live and work in Silicon Valley, so you'd think there might be one or two near me. It turns out there is ONE in the whole area and another ONE promised "soon". Really? Not helpful….
        Rotation
        • 4 Months Ago
        Use PlugShare. There is one in Mountain View near the BMW dealer. And there is one up on the Penninsula at VW's tech center. There have been 2 added in the Bay Area (if you count Benecia) in 3 weeks. So while there aren't a lot right now, it's at least getting better. NRG doesn't seem to have their CCS stations taking evGo cards yet, so they are presumably not accelerating the installations.
      jeff
      • 4 Months Ago
      How does this get 80% is 1/2 hr. There is 18.8Kwh usable in the i3 pack (according to BMW). 24Kw for 30 minutes is 12Kwh assuming NO LOSS!!! 80% of 18.8Kwh is 15.4Kwh. How does 12Kwh = 15.4Kwh??? Me thinks BMW is fibbing a bit here....
      • 4 Months Ago
      As someone previously involved in this area I have to laugh at the whiners and critics. The SAE combo connector was developed as the phase 2 fast charger connector by the vast majority of global OEMs. The Chademo connector of Nissan was a great start but is far too expensive ($1000) and has technical limitations for vehicle-infrastructur communication, etc. Nissan deserves congrats and will eventually have to move on. Their CEOs ego will have to accept progress. To the doubters who think the OEMs are still dragging their feet, please take some time to really investigate the massive resources invested by OEMs. You may not agree with the methods, but don't question the committment. You are misinformed. To those who whine about too few stations, look up the word launch...this is the beginning of the program. Regarding the charging capacity, the higher the amps the more costly the installation. This capacity is a good compromise to get 30 min times with amperage comparable to adding a hot tub. I don't know what the whiners do for a living, but give it a rest...you have no idea how difficult and complicated these technologies are.
        jeff
        • 4 Months Ago
        Why create a standard that is already obsolete???
        purrpullberra
        • 4 Months Ago
        You are convinced there is progress. Well, you desire a lot less progress than most people. OEM's are stupid, slow and stuck in their old ways of 'thinking'. You sound like you are in the same boat with them, afraid that someone else might have outsmarted you and angry that the rest of us won't slow down. If little ol Tesla can pull off what they have then there is no excuse for it taking so long for the other OEM's to get their collective $h1+ together. YOU have no idea how slowly you are moving AND I can easily guess you work for one of the old, stupid, slow, bankrupt, murdering, oil dependent car makers, don't you?
      EVSUPERHERO
      • 4 Months Ago
      IMO, the SAE folks are dirty rotten scoundrels receiving most of their money from oil corps. That is why we even have two different DCFC connections. If SAE would have done their job correctly we would not have two DCFC charge connection. Because SAE dragged their feet, they did the oil corps bidding in making EV's more difficult to purchase for Joe public. Note that SAE developed the hydrogen connection before one hydrogen car was available for sale, not lease, but sale. Any thing to slow down the sales of EV. We know who butters the SAE's bread.
      • 4 Months Ago
      Just checked and there is ONE active NRG site as mentioned in the article that is not at the BMW dealer. ONE more is "promised soon". Really? So, by the time te free charging expires at the end of 2015, there may be a handful of NRG "free" sites. I think this is not a useful incentive. And, I am not in the boonies. We're talking the heart of Silicon Valley, where these folks just made this announcement. Hmmm …. Marketing!
        Rotation
        • 4 Months Ago
        NRG has a couple sites that aren't at BMW dealers. They have only 1 one NorCal, but they have had 1 in San Diego for months also. You gotta give it some time, Mr. Impatient.
          jeff
          • 4 Months Ago
          @Rotation
          Well at least until the "Free" period expires....
      Sagar
      • 4 Months Ago
      Bringing up the charger just after the electric i3 and also the Hybrid i8 is surely a clever idea by the company. Now the company will gonna earn the profit from both the ways. Well done BMW. You're the best. http://www.sagmart.com/upcoming/Automobiles/Cars
      JakeY
      • 4 Months Ago
      I didn't expect BMW would get serious about DC charging, but I guess they are. This being so inexpensive and compact will probably mean every BMW dealer can get one. Hopefully the lower power requirements and wall mounting means much cheaper installation than the existing pedestal chargers.
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