BMW is putting a bigger stake in its electric-vehicle initiative by investing in UK-based electric-vehicle charging infrastructure provider Chargemaster Plc in advance of the debut of the German automaker's first production electric vehicle, the i3. In addition to the investment through its i ventures division, BMW has a five-year agreement with Chargemaster and its efforts to build out its ChargeNow network throughout the UK.

BMW didn't reveal specifics as far as how many stations would be opened throughout the UK but did say it would include, which has access to more than 30,000 private-parking locations, in the initiative.

Earlier this month, BMW announced pricing for the i3, saying it'll start US sales during the second quarter 2014 at a base of $41,350 (pre-federal government incentives, of course). The model, whose 22-kWh lithium-ion battery pack will deliver 168-horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque, will start deliveries in Europe later this year.

Read here for Autoblog's first-drive impressions and check out Bimmer's press release below.
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BMW i announces investment in UK's leading provider of electric vehicle charging infrastructure

Five year cooperation with Chargemaster forms important step in establishing BMW i ChargeNow network.

London. BMW i Ventures has announced a strategic investment into Chargemaster Plc, the UK's leading provider of electric vehicle charging infrastructure. In addition to this investment, Chargemaster and BMW i have entered into a wide ranging cooperation agreement whereby Chargemaster will provide a range of E-mobility services. Both parties will carry out joint electric vehicle (EV) marketing activities and will work together to promote the advancement of EVs and E-mobility services.

Thorsten Mattig, Managing Director BMW i Ventures: "We see Chargemaster playing an important role in preparing the way for E-mobility. This investment and wide ranging cooperation agreement will accelerate our activities as well as boost the synergies with some of our already existing services and investments, such as ParkatmyHouse, where Chargemaster equipment has already been installed."

The five year cooperation agreement between Chargemaster and BMW i aims to ensure that suitable charging infrastructure is in place for the anticipated proliferation of EVs, with both parties working to establish ChargeNow, the public charging network for BMW i owners across the UK. Chargemaster will also provide charging equipment and sites for the BMW i car sharing service DriveNow. Both parties are working together on making EV charging as accessible to consumers as possible. This includes working with another BMW i partner, (PAMH), to roll out further charging points within the PAMH estate of over 30,000 private parking locations. This cooperation extends Chargemaster's existing work with PAMH where Chargemaster has already been equipping London PAMH driveways with charging points.

BMW i and Chargemaster will be looking to bring new innovative charging technologies to the market. Under the Agreement, the two parties will be carrying out joint EV marketing activities to promote the practical advancement of electric cars and E-mobility services.

Commenting on the BMW i Ventures investment and cooperation agreement David Martell, Chief Executive Offer of Chargemaster said: "We are delighted to welcome BMW i as investor in Chargemaster. In addition, our selection as a partner to cooperate in the provision of charging programmes to assist the rollout of E-mobility services is an endorsement of Chargemaster's premier position in the market. We look forward to working with BMW i in this exciting and fast-growing space as we expand our operations in Europe."

About BMW i Ventures
The BMW Group has founded BMW i Ventures – a Venture Capital Company based in New York City – to provide early and mid-stage investments with high potential in the area of Mobility Services. These are services that make mobility smarter, more efficient and more flexible. BMW i Ventures aims for strategic, long-term partnerships especially in the areas of e-mobility, navigation, parking, car sharing and intermodal mobility solutions.

BMW i Ventures is part of the brand BMW i, which is about the design and development of visionary vehicles and mobility services and a new perception of premium guided by sustainability.

About Chargemaster Plc
Chargemaster Plc is a major European provider of electric vehicle (EV) charging infrastructure, and the leading provider in the UK. From its headquarters and production facilities in Luton, UK the Company designs, manufactures and markets charging points for domestic, commercial and public use, for which it also supplies software, installation and maintenance services. Additionally, Chargemaster has grown a public network of charging points operating under the 'POLAR' brand.

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