Today the the DC Auto Show, BMW announced they have partnered with Volkswagen and ChargePoint to begin what will be the beginning of the largest roll out of CCS Fast Charge stations in the US. The first phase of which will be the installation of roughly 100 locations, split between the East and West Coasts.
On the East coast, there will be locations approximately every 50 miles between Washington DC and Boston, and on the West coast the new “CCS Highway” will span from San Diego, CA all the way to Portland OR. All of these locations will feature 50kW dual-head Fast Charge stations, including CHAdeMO charging capabilities as well as CCS. In addition, these locations will have multiple Level 2 ChargePoint EVSE’s, allowing the user to “top off” once the vehicle reaches 80% state of charge from the DC fast charger.
In addition to the “CCS Highway” locations, BMW is also going to install a network of their 24kW DC Fast Chargers at secondary locations which are somewhat off of the main arteries.
I spoke with BMW infrastructure manager Rob Healey today and he wanted to stress how this announcement signifies only the beginning of the commitment that BMW and their partners have to proliferate the deployment of DC Fast charge infrastructure. He pointed to the fact that the decision to include CHAdeMO on all their 50kW locations on the East & West coast deployment indicates their commitment to the success of overall e-mobility, not just their plug-in offerings. Healey used the phrase that “a rising tide lifts all boats” and in this case I believe he’s absolutely correct.
BMW and their partners are still identifying locations and are working with public and private entities to secure locations that are a minimum of 50 miles apart. There isn’t a set time frame on completion of this first phase but the installations have begun on the West Coast and will soon begin on the East. BMW has already installed three 24kW DC stations and four dual-head Level 2 charging stations at their North American Headquarters in Woodcliff Lake, NJ. I was even invited there to test them out with my i3 this week, which I did. All of these stations will be open to the public 24/7 and they already appear on the ChargePoint map.
I believe this is a great first step for BMW and their partners with regards to DC fast charge, but it’s only the first step. There will also be attention paid to the other areas of the country that aren’t included in this announcement. It’s a big country, and area’s like Atlanta which have become EV hot spots aren’t going to be ignored, but these two corridors were considered the most important ones to begin with. I also believe we’re going to see even more collaboration between the OEM’s. It’s no secret BMW and Tesla have had discussions in the past, and in my opinion, installing CHAdeMO on all of their locations on the CCS Highway is extending a huge olive branch to Nissan. How great would it be if Nissan then turned around and said they will do the same thing now? This little detail could end up being the biggest thing to come out of the whole announcement…