In BMW and BMW i models, especially in the electric and plug-in hybrid versions, equipped with at least iDrive 6.0 or OS 7.0, you are able to search for and navigate to public charging in a fast and convenient way. The search engine embedded in the iDrive infotainment system of 6th and 7th generation offers the possibility to look out for electric charging stations in real time. The owner of the vehicle can easily select from a multitude of options that will the system refine the search results as desired.

You can search for the public stations in the near proximity of the car, in the city where you are located or in another country, depending on information availability. For example, you can filter out the stations by selecting certain features to be accomplished, like the specific type of charging port or the level of congestion at the respective electric “refill” station. The navigation system in the BMW electric or plug-in hybrid models is properly fitted with an extensive search engine which lets you smartly search for the electric public charging station.

The steps are quite simple and intuitive, and the graphics of the information displayed on the control screen of the iDrive system is highly suggestive. First, you have to press the NAV button near the rotary controller to quickly access the navigation menu and then choose the option Map from the drop-down list to show you the current navigational setup depending on the location. With the map beautifully displayed on the screen, press and incline the iDrive controller towards to left to expose the hidden menu on the left side of the map.

This will let you choose the “Additional Information” options – then, simply tick the “Points of interest” box that shows up. After that, additional points of interest, like charging stations, will be displayed on the map.

Now, go back to the Navigation main menu, select “Enter new destination” and then “Points of interest”. You can now pick “Vehicle Charging Station” from the list. With these steps, you will be able to see the relevant charging stations either in the current location or wherever else you want.

Also, you can also filter the charging stations based on their features, like for example the type of plug, payment methods, a ChargeNow station (depending on the country), a 24h hour program or free charging.

After selecting the specific choices from the list, roll down the list and press the “Show results” option, which will display the list of charging stations as per your own defined search criteria. Next to the name and location of the charging stations, an icon symbolizing the type of plug and the status of the charging stations: “Green” for available, “Orange” for partly available and “Red” for occupied. Pressing the desired charging station from the list will launch the route guidance of the navigation system, which will direct you to the respective station.

Besides the vehicle’s infotainment system, another convenient way to search for public charging stations is by using your smartphone, with the help of the ChargeNow dedicated app. Launch it and it will instantly showcase on the map the charging stations in the area of your current location.

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Furthermore, additional details are displayed, like the output of the charging stations, the type of plug needed or the occupancy status. With the ChargeNow app, you can also search charging stations in other cities or countries.

Let’s see this useful technology at work in the following video: