One indicator of an automaker’s seriousness about EVs may be its willingness to invest a substantial amount in charging infrastructure, as Nissan and Tesla have done. This week, BMW and Volkswagen, together with ChargePoint, announced an initiative to create express charging corridors on the east and west coasts of the US.
In the initial phase, to be completed by the end of 2015, about 100 DC fast charging ports will be installed in the most highly-trafficked regions along I-95, from Boston to Washington, DC, and on the west coast connecting the metro areas of Portland, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and San Diego. The stations will be spaced a maximum of 50 miles apart, and will be located at convenient locations such as restaurants, shopping centers and rest stops.
“A robust network of conveniently located DC fast charging stations will go a long way toward increasing electric vehicle adoption and making electric vehicle ownership even more enjoyable,” said Robert Healey, Head of EV Infrastructure at BMW of North America. “The express charging corridors are another important step in the development of the US e-mobility infrastructure that makes longer distance travel a real option for consumers, particularly along the most heavily trafficked portions of both coasts – making the BMW i3 and other electric vehicles even more appealing.”
“Volkswagen believes in a holistic approach to e-mobility in order to create a seamless experience for the consumer,” said Jörg Sommer, VP of Product Marketing and Strategy at Volkswagen of America. “The investment in the express charging corridor will provide e-Golf and other electric vehicle owners with the added support to travel their day-to-day and popular long distance routes.”
Each location is expected to include up to two 50 kW or 24 kW DC fast chargers with the SAE Combo connector, as well as Level 2 chargers. The DC fast charging stations will be part of the ChargePoint network.
“Our goal at ChargePoint is to get everyone behind the wheel of an EV and provide EV charging everywhere they go,” said Pasquale Romano, ChargePoint CEO. “With strategically-placed stations where drivers need them, these express charging corridors will give EV drivers the freedom to go farther and have an EV as their only car without limitation.”