Imagine pulling up to a gas station with a GM, Ford, Honda, Toyota, Etc. logo and topping off your tank and driving away without having put a charge on a credit card or cash.
This, in effect, is what is happening in the still-growing world of electric vehicles. Not only are the vehicle manufacturers faced with the daunting challenge of creating vehicles that are durable, reliable, capable, and, yes, even appealing, they are also dealing with the development of a recharging infrastructure.
Tesla has done the most in this space, creating its Supercharger network of stations that allow owners of its EVs to plug in to get a sufficient amount of juice (generally 80% of charge) in about 20 minutes and then continue.
BMW has announced that it, along with Bosch Automotive Service Solutions, has developed “BMW I DC Fast Chargers” for its i3 electric vehicle. This fast charger can recharge an i3 to 80% in 30 minutes.
Another advantage, this of a infrastructural nature, is that the device, unlike other charging stations, which are approximately the size of a major appliance, measures just 31 x 19 x 12 in. and weighs just 100 lb., so it can be affixed to a wall. In addition to which, BMW is going to market the devices to “authorized BMW partners” for $6,548.
And while on the subject of money, it is worth noting that i3 drivers in California who activate their ChargeNow cards, which come with the i3, and use it at a participating eVgo Freedom Station (which, admittedly, sounds a bit over the top for what is otherwise described in an internal combustion context as a “gas station”; c’mon, electronics aren’t that fancy) by the end of 2014, will have free DC charging—which necessitates, of course, it i3 being equipped with the SAE DC Fast Charging option—through the end of 2015.
“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. . 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,” said Robert Healey, EV Infrastructure Manager, at BMW of North America.
At some point, the charge stations are going to charge the same way that the aforementioned gas stations do.
But as OEMs build the market for EVs, it seems as though it is a good time for early adopters when it comes to the cost of energy.