America fell pretty far short of President Obama's 2011 call to have 1 million electric vehicles on the road by 2015. There's a lot of reasons for this, and a lack of charging infrastructure is one of them. So far Tesla Motors has been leading that charge (sorry for the pun) with their Supercharger network, but today BMW and Volkswagen announced they're also joining the fray.
The two German automakers are teaming up to build 100 direct current fast-charging stations from coast to coast across the U.S. They're partnering with startup ChargePoint, which already has the largest charging network of more than 20,000 stations in North America.
Unlike Tesla's Tesla-only Supercharger stations, these will use the popular SAE Combo standard that's used in both the BMW i3, Volkswagen e-Golf, the Chevrolet Spark EV and other electric cars. Here's what they said in a news release:
When charging at a 50 kW station, both the BMW i3 and the Volkswagen e-Golf can charge up to 80 percent in 20 minutes. Both vehicles can charge up to 80 percent in 30 minutes at a 24 kW station. Locations will also include Level 2 chargers, currently the most commonly available public charging stations, which are compatible with all electric vehicles. Level 2 stations can dispense up to 25 miles of range per hour of charging, providing a full charge for the BMW i3 and the VW e-Golf within 3.5 to 4 hours.
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Forbes reports that BMW and VW will be putting up the majority of the cash for these 100 charging stations. They've begun construction in San Diego already, and hope to get all 100 of them up by the end of this year. The stations will be placed long high-traffic areas of Interstate 95 on the East Coast, which runs from Boston to Washington, D.C., and from Portland to San Diego along the West Coast. The plan is to have them be no more than 50 miles apart.
Their story also notes that while Tesla opened up their patents last year, so far no other automakers have taken up their offer. A BMW official said they're committed to the SAE standard.
That's something else we'll have to get sorted out as EVs become more popular, but more charging stations is definitely a start.