What’s holding back the adoption of electric vehicles? At least five things come to mind right away, with limited range and the lack of available chargers topping the list for many people. At the 2015 Washington Auto Show, Volkswagen and BMW announced they were partnering with ChargePoint to add 100 fast-charging stations to key U.S. traffic corridors, one on each coast.
DC Fast chargers for both coasts
Following the logic of Tesla’s Supercharger network, the joint initiative will install its DC Fast chargers along highly traveled roads so there will be no more than 50 miles between stations. This system gets cars an 80% charge in 20 minutes.
Out West, that means Portland will connect to San Diego with stops on the way in San Francisco, L.A., and other points. Back East, the I-95 corridor will get the quick-charge treatment. Once complete, Boston will connect to D.C. with seamless charging through New York, Trenton, Philadelphia, and Baltimore along the way. Then they will turn to Middle America. Officials representing both automakers acknowledged the challenge with respect to EV charging.
“A robust network of conveniently located DC Fast charging stations will go a long way toward increasing electric vehicle adoption,” said Robert Healey, BMW’s head of EV infrastructure, in a company statement. “The express charging corridors are another important step in the development of the U.S. e-mobility infrastructure that makes longer distance travel a real option for consumers.”
Of course, both BMW and Volkswagen have dogs in the fight with their respective introductions of all-electric vehicles in 2014.
BMw i3 and VW e-Golf
By joining up with ChargePoint, the biggest EV network in the U.S., the German automakers who usually battle on the luxury car front are jointly investing in the success of their own cars. BMW’s i3, the first pure electric in the brand’s stable, is rated the most efficient car on sale in the United States with 124 miles per gallon combined and 81 miles of electric range.
The e-Golf’s nearly equals the Bimmer’s performance, with the electrified Volkswagen rated at 83 miles of range and 116 miles per gallon combined. Efficiency for both cars is impressive, but even the short trip from New York to Philadelphia (95 miles) or San Diego to Los Angeles (124 miles) will leave the cars out of juice before reaching their destinations.
Are there enough people who care to make that sacrifice in time to have a greener car on the road? There are plenty out there, but the number who can afford an EV while having a place to park and charge it remains small. BMW and Volkswagen’s initiative with ChargePoint has no set schedule or deadline, but at least it is a start toward addressing one of the industry’s problems in the move toward electric vehicles.