In the never-ending quest to expand charging mechanisms that help validate the EV value proposition, BMW has announced a new hi-rate ‘suitcase sized’ charging unit, to ease the current pain associated with availability of plug-in points. According to BMW N.A.’s Robert Healey Manager for EV Infrastructure, “Our focus is on getting as many DC fast chargers out there as possible, but the cost has been a hindrance. We want to remove every perceived barrier for our potential customers. We want to ensure that customers see these chargers.”
While news of a portable hi-charge system rollout is undoubtedly helpful, the new product is more than just a proprietary charging system, but also offers charging support to major brands beyond the BMW logo including; Ford, GM and Volkswagen. “We don’t want to own infrastructure,” said Cliff Fietzek, BMW’s Manager of Connected eMobility. “We want to support the rollout (of EV’s) and we’re heavily supporting partnerships, but we don’t want to be the network operator like Tesla, for example.”
Along with the ready availability of charging for a host of EV products, the new charging program offers a significantly discounted price point. Currently, hi-rate charging systems can cost as much as $30k per copy while BMW’s new portable unit will only set customers back $6,500.
Using tests with the BMW i3 lithium-ion batteries, the new system can produce an 80% charge in about 30 minutes, based on its 24-kilowatt power pack. Along with its speed the package is quite compact and only weighs 100 pounds, versus the typically 1500 pound variant. This advantage alone will make installation and utilization much more efficient than current charging types.
The product is set to launch the beginning of August, and nearly 285 out of 340 BMW iDealers have already signed up to offer the new system.