German makers BMW and Volkswagen are teaming up with electric vehicle (EV) charging station networkers ChargePoint to create corridors of charging stations along the U.S. east and west coasts.
Announced at the recent Washington Auto Show, the move is a step in giving EV owners a chance to venture outside their city boundaries (a common reference in the promotion of EV use).
Probably the biggest challenge facing the mass adoption of electric vehicles is range anxiety — the fear of the EV owner to venture outside the vehicle’s stated driving distance lest the batteries become depleted and the vehicle occupants become stranded or waiting for hours for the batteries to recharge in order to return home.
With the recently unveiled plan, electric vehicle owners might be able to fast charge their EV’s batteries to 80 percent capacity in the time it takes them to take a rest from driving during a long-distance trip.
“Our goal at ChargePoint is to get everyone behind the wheel of an EV and provide EV charging everywhere they go,” said Pasquale Romano, ChargePoint CEO. “With strategically-placed stations where drivers need them, these express charging corridors will give EV drivers the freedom to go farther and have an EV as their only car without limitation.”
In announcing the project of adding 100 Level 2 charging stations at 80 km intervals along well-travelled corridors (San Diego to Portland on the west coast; Boston to Washington D.C. in the east), Robert Healey, Head of EV Infrastructure at BMW of North America, said “A robust network of conveniently located DC Fast charging stations will go a long way toward increasing electric vehicle adoption and making electric vehicle ownership even more enjoyable.
“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, particularly along the most heavily trafficked portions of both coasts,” he added.
The largest EV charging network in the world with stations located throughout Europe, Australia and North America, ChargePoint is adding the planned stations to its network of 20,000 in North America, and claims the initial phase is part of a larger initiative to expand fast EV charging across the continent.
The stations will also include the direct current (DC) fast charging plug-ins for those vehicles that can use them. The stations will include either two 50 kW DC Fast chargers (which charge batteries to 80 percent capacity within 20 minutes) or 24 kW DC Combo Fast chargers (80 percent in 30 minutes), as well as the most commonly used 220 volt plug-ins that add 40 km range per hour of charging.
The first phase is expected to be completed by the end of the year, with construction already begun in San Diego County. The aim is to put charging stations at common rest stops, such as rest areas, restaurants and shopping malls. It will tie in with ChargePoint’s existing infrastructure, so it will either create stepping stones between cities or fill in dead spots.