BMW Developing EV Charging Network To Challenge Tesla’s?

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The pseudo-rivalry between BMW and Tesla Motors looks set to continue into the foreseeable future, judging by recent comments made by BMW’s head of EV sales and strategy for North America.

BMW is apparently looking to spread its new DC charging stations all throughout the US next year — chargers utilizing an SAE standard plug, thus working with nearly every EV out there except for Tesla’s and Nissan’s.



Given the recent pseudo-drama between the two companies, this certainly isn’t surprising, and is very likely what’s been in the works the whole time. Still, does BMW really think that it will outcompete Tesla in the US EV market? I’m not sure what I think about that, but it doesn’t seem like a bet that I would make.

BMW’s new charging technology is impressive, though — a DC charger that only weighs ~100 lbs, is only 24″ high and 17″ wide, and provides enough juice to deliver an ~80% charge in just 30 minutes. With the low weight and space requirements, it does represent a real improvement on the standard technology currently out there.

The head of EV sales and strategy for BMW of North America, Jacob Harb, called the new charger a “game changer” in an interview with AutoGuide, also noting that 2015 would be “the year of infrastructure.”

GAS2 provides some more thoughts on all of this:

BMW is naturally interested in expanding the EV charging infrastructure, so customers considering a BMW i3 or i8 will feel they can drive their cars anywhere. It is possible to drive a Tesla coast to coast today, but only via a limited number of routes. BMW wants its owners to be able to take a detour through Pocatello or South Succotash if they want to.

There is a tug of war going on between established auto makers and upstart Tesla. Even though Tesla says anyone can use its patented recharging technology, no one has accepted the offer. The issue is not getting the electricity from the charger to the battery. The issue is the shape of the plug and standardizing the low voltage control network that prevents the car from being moved while connected and keeps the charger informed about the status of the battery.

The BMW charger uses an SAE standard plug that fits every other electric car except for Tesla and Nissan. Resolving this conflict is critical. Just imagine how chaotic the auto industry would be if you could only fill up your Ford F-150 at a Ford sponsored gas station?

Eventually, this is likely to be resolved through the emergence of a victor, with the losing party (or parties) then being forced to adopt the approach of the winning one. Personally, I find it hard to see BMW cracking the EV market in the US… but I could be wrong.

Image Credit: BMW

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James Ayre

James Ayre's background is predominantly in geopolitics and history, but he has an obsessive interest in pretty much everything. After an early life spent in the Imperial Free City of Dortmund, James followed the river Ruhr to Cofbuokheim, where he attended the University of Astnide. And where he also briefly considered entering the coal mining business. He currently writes for a living, on a broad variety of subjects, ranging from science, to politics, to military history, to renewable energy.

James Ayre has 4830 posts and counting. See all posts by James Ayre

93 thoughts on “BMW Developing EV Charging Network To Challenge Tesla’s?

  • I cannot understand for the life of me how these companies think creating new charging standards will help the industry at all. Seems absolutely insane to me. meh

    • …because a company doesn’t care about “helping the industry” — they care about helping their company. Having a competing standard that eventually other companies have to either 1) pay you to allow their drivers to use it, or 2) license the technology somehow (even though this is a SAE standard plug, I’m sure there’s other proprietary BMW technology in play) is just good business.

      • TESLA’s charging is more efficient. They weren’t trying to conform to the way things are, because the way things are for electric cars sucks now. It’s free to charge at a TESLA supercharger. If another company would adopt TESLA’s standard, their drivers could charge for free too.

        • I think Tesla would want to charge non-Tesla cars for the electricity and they’d probably want to give Tesla cars priority too. They probably don’t want to be spending money to charge other company’s cars. But still, that’s not a bad deal for being able to use an extensive supercharging system. And if Tesla wants to encourage electric car use then they could only charge the local price for electricity. That would be very fair considering they could charge considerably more.

          • In current gas stations, the gas doesn’t really earn the franchisee much, I’m told; the real profit is in the convenience items sold (which in many cases certainly do feature large markups, to judge by comparative retail prices.) I’m thinking that if Tesla were to allow other cars to charge at their charging points, a lot of such opportunities could exist. And with the precedent of the Tesla ‘open tech’ patent move, if anyone were to go down such a route, I’d think it would be Tesla.

          • The Tesla Food Mart.

          • Tesla Motors has already indicated that anyone who uses a Supercharger must not have any additional fees attached.

            Regulations in various states make it very hard to manage charging someone for electricity.

            So with a Tesla Supercharger there will be no subscription programs, pay-by-the-month, or per charge fees accessed — ever.

        • It’s not free. If you purchase the entry level S then unlimited access to the Supercharger system can be purchased for $2,000. Access is included with more expensive option packages.

          • Yes, Tesla charges for supercharging – upfront.

            And Ronald, how do you give priority to Teslas for charging in the US, when culturally standing online is deeply culturally ingrained. Without a customer revolt.

          • I suspect we’ll see a reservation system go into effect at some point. The cheapest way to travel from point A to point B will be to enter your endpoint and let the “system” decide on when/where you charge.

            A reserved bay wouldn’t operate for the wrong vehicle.

          • Jeffhre, if I’m driving a Kanga Electric 2017 and I want to charge it at a Tesla super charger with the world “Tesla” written on it in big letters then I’d probably be able to grasp the concept of only being able to use those chargers if no Tesla cars are waiting to use them without suffering too much psychic pain. But if I couldn’t handle that psychic pain then I would always have the option of crying. Or I could write a letter to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission. (Note: The ACCC asks all letters sent to it be written on paper that is soft, absorbent, and pliant.) Or maybe I could write one of those letters to the editor that crazy people are so fond of writing. You know, the ones that go, “How dare Tesla give priority to Tesla cars at Tesla chargng stations! What game do they think they are playing at? Free Enterprise? The Enterprise can rot in prison for all I care, along with Kirk, Picard, and all it’s horrible crew. I will never buy another Tesla product again after the shoddy treatment I was given by the A.I. at the Murry Bridge supercharging station when it refused to allow me to plug in my home extention cord!”

          • They also require smear proof ink, do they not?

          • Smear proofing is prohibited for political reasons.

          • I guess you can identify ACCC people at the sauna by their black butts….

          • Sauna? Oh, I see, a Finnish word for the Northern Territory capital Darwin.

          • Bob you might be able to give me an answer. If eventually all these folks decide to go with one standard, will it be possible to alter their plug configurations rather than tear out and replace whole charging stations?

          • I can’t see why not. Seems like it would be a matter of cutting off the old plug and attaching a new one. Or replacing the cable and plug.

            We’re going to end up with chargers with different maximum charge rates, but as long at the ‘standard’ plug handles the largest output it should be fine.

          • Thanks Bob.
            The parties need to quickly come to an agreement quickly before the confusion is irreversible.

          • I’m calling 2015 “EV Year 4”. Nissan sold a few Leafs at the end of 2010 but the first year of meaningful sales was 2011. EV Year 1.

            It’s early to be worried about standardization. Things need to mature a bit more. There’s likely to be more innovation coming at us.

            As far as I can tell changing chargers over to a new plug would be pretty simple. Truck pulls up. Turns off power. Removes the old cable with the antiquated plug. Attaches a cable with the new ‘hot stuff’ plug. Turns on power. Drives off to the next charger.

            What we need is manufacturers chasing the best option at the moment and designing their EVs for easy change over later on. Maybe they need to design their cars so that the service bay can take out two screws, pull off the ABC female, stick in a new DEF female, and replace the two screws. A drive-through change.

          • Pat, people could plug in an adaptor then plug in the charging cord. Hopefully the system will be smart enough not to fry anything, though it would probably be a good idea to check that it is first.

          • Sounds like a good transitional plan Ronald. I hope we move quickly to resolve this and the need to carry an array of EVSE’s, cards, forbs, and codes, When I lend our Leaf to relatives all this becomes too much especially when a charger is down – then they panic. You have introduced them, they fell in love, then they scream when they are on their own with the EV.

          • This should all be much easier in Australia. Just plug it into a normal socket overnight and you’re done. Or overday to take advantage of cheap solar electricity. Our juicer current means that ten hours charging from a normal Euro/Australian socket is about 120 kilometers range or about three hours driving around town. In Australia passenger vehicles only average one hour driving a day. No need for the average person to install a special charger. Of course, we’ll need electric cars designed to accept this current.

      • Tesla cares about helping the industry. For the EV market to be long term viable, a standard needs to be developed. On top of that, Tesla has a sexy brand and will dominate both EV sales and charging station penetration with or without the help from the other manufacturers. It’s actually to the benefit of the smaller volume EV manufacturers to jump on board with Telsas standard imho, not the other way around.

        • I don’t believe TESLA is going to dominate EV sales as we have too many that are still stretched at the moment to afford even a Leaf. Maybe TESLA technology will become dominant in some ways but its still early.

          • They may not be the sales leader today but that’s a result of their intentional pricing strategy. They surely are the EV image leader (I would call Nissan and BMW close seconds) and are surely the thought leader for EVs. Being a thought leader is more important as that will encourage other companies to embrace their (open) standards.

          • The average new car price in the US is ~$32,000. Tesla aims to build a $35,000 car.

          • A $35k, long range, well-built EV will open up a huge market compared to the niche that can afford an Tesla S.

            Lots of sales means a lot more battery manufacturing which means battery prices fall.

            There’s only about $70 of material in a kWh of Tesla batteries. It should be possible to manufacture them for $100/kWh. (Apparently Panasonic is under $180/kWh at the moment.) It’s a matter of automating factories and building strong supply streams.

            Somewhere close to $100/kWh a long range EV becomes cheaper than a same-model ICEV. That’s “game over” time for the gasmobile.

    • Totally agree. This is the kind of nightmare scenario that makes me so profoundly skeptical of seeing general purpose EVs sell quickly, even if batteries are $1/ton. Almost no one wants to be tied to a single brand.

      This site obviously attracts a very technical group who know a lot. Many here need to get off the nerd mindset and look at what sells product and in that regard you cannot underestimate human inertia and fear of change.

      I have seen so many products fail because marketing was bad and this comes under the heading of marketing, not technical specifics. This will get resolved in time, but time is pretty important.

      • I just realized that we are basically heading down the path that cell phone chargers have gone (and USB)…but with much larger implications. This is going to take government regulation to drive a single charging standard…or at least define that each station must have a J1772 / Telsa / SAE combo charger or something similar to ensure the infrastructure that’s being installed can actually be used. Ugly, ugly, ugly.

        I don’t buy the marketing bit. consumers could give two puffs about which network they can use…they want/need a large network of chargers that they can actually use. the marketing glitz wears off VERY quickly once they hit the road and nobody wants to eat the fallout from a fleet of burned consumers.

      • The marketing piece needs to solve the microeconomic portion of getting demand up and running. We need an economist on board.

    • Well, I can see how CCS is actually better than Chademo. Chademo is a repurposed industrial port and it takes a lot of space. CCS is purposefully designed and just adds 2 DC prongs to the now-universal J1772 connection. Finally, Tesla was forced to develop their own connection at >100kW power levels (for their much larger battery) when none existed.

      What will be important for consumers is that adapters exist that are relatively cheap. For high powered DC charging the important thing is that the car and the charger are able to communicate productively, and that’s what an adapter must do, translate between the protocols of different standards.

      • Exactly – your first paragraph hit my big points. The first time I saw a Chademo adapter, I was blown away by how HUGE it was. I was similarly blown away when I saw how elegant Teslas chargers are…and even more so when I realized that they could do L1, L2 and Fast charging all with the same adapter. I would gladly pay to retrofit my Mercedes B-Class with an adapter (or just buy an external adapter) for the Telsa stations if they were installed in more locations. To date, I’ve only seen them at the Tesla supercharging stations which, hypocritically (imho) are tesla only (wtf?).

        • The drivetrain and battery pack in the Mercedes-Benz B-Class Electric were developed by Tesla Motors. They aren’t Supercharger compatible because Mercedes-Benz didn’t want them to be. I’m certain that Tesla would have offered the option.

    • There hasn’t been a new charging standard created in years. SAE-CCS has been around for a couple years now but it is just starting to get deployed. It is backed by every german and USA automaker. Apparently they did not want to be behold to the Japan, Inc. CHADEMO standard.

      • Hmm…my brand new Mercedes B-Class ED is just SAE/J1772 and does not appear to be fast charging capable or come with the SAE-CCS adapter. Short term, including affordable adapters will help adoption but that’s not a game many are going to want to play for very long…

  • 80% charge of an I3 takes you about 60 miles, so it’ll be handy around town. 80% charge of a Model S is more like 200. Having more chargers around is good, but these will be inadequate when BMW releases an uncompromised ICE-replacement EV.

    • Yes, BMW will have to install 4x the chargers to compete wit TESLA, and it’s no competition (yet). Who wants to stop every hour to charge? BMW is trying to build the “around town” car, and most people don’t want only that. TESLA already has a car that can drive you “around town” all week without recharging. By the end of 2015 you’ll have no restrictions on where you want to go in a TESLA and BMW just isn’t going to get there any time soon. Not to mentions, I’m guessing BMW is going to charge for their juice.

      • Not four times the chargers, to cover the same radius you need sixteen.

    • Speaking of 80%, 30 minutes isn’t possible with the cheap BMW chargers mentioned in the article. They’re 24kW max, so theoretical time at 100% efficiency and zero taper is 38 minutes. Realistically it’s 45 minutes.

      That’s a lot of time for just 60 miles. I don’t think BMW’s network will challenge Tesla at all.

  • Are you talking about the J1772 standard plug? A TESLA charges just fine with that. Do you just write things, or are you trying to do research and just failing?

    • He means SAE-CCS, which is the DC fast-charging standard BMW and others support. However, when he says “nearly every EV out there except for Tesla’s and Nissan’s”, he means brands – there are more LEAFs with CHAdeMO on the road than all the SAE-CCS cars put together, and there are an order of magnitude more of both CHAdeMO and Tesla Supercharger chargers than SAE-CCS chargers.

      They have a long way to catch up, and installing 25kW units that are barely adequate for today’s cars and will be woefully inadequate as they make longer-range cars isn’t the way to do it – at best, they will get caught up just in time to have to redo them all for the next generation of EVs that aren’t just city cars.

  • We are seeing what happens at the beginning. SAE and other large standards forming groups take time to come up with a good standard that enough parties will agree to. Each company want the standard to be close to what they are already doing. In that space companies try for the best they can to get ahead. Then you have 5-10 years while a winner is found and the standards (yes there are US/Europe/Japan/China/… standards) are updated. Notice that the world NEVER got a standard electric format (to much time past); hopeful the EV make will not fail into that trap.

    • Conversely, the pro-active adoption of the MIDI standard has been a huge success for the music-related electronics and instrument manufacturers.

      • True enough, but that was mostly because the old DIN connector was a long established hardware standard that was co-opted to a digital software standard. MIDI is basically software. That’s why it was pretty simple to adapt it to USB, Firewire, Ethernet… The computer doesn’t care how the devices are connected to transfer the data.

    • SAE is pretty bad compared to Tesla’s standard. And I drive a SAE equipped Volt.

  • If a couple other manufacturers joined-in on the supercharger standard, I could see Tesla spinning that off as a separate company, funded with a “supercharger” fee paid by vehicle manufacturers. Apparently the signalling protocol isn’t that different from SAE CCS, despite the connector differences, so an adapter may be possible. I believe the CCS spec tops-out at 100kW, which is ok but not fantastic.

  • Only for level 2 AC charging at up to 80kW. There is no adapter for CCS level 3 DC fast charging.

    Supposedly Japanese Tesla’s come with a Chademo adapter, but no-one else can buy one yet.

    • Level 2 up to 19.6Kw… (80 amps at 240V)

      • But very few L2 chargers deliver than many amps. Most are probably 30Amps or less.

        • Yeah, my bad, I should have said amps. The Canadian Sun Country network has many 80A chargers, not many in the US though.

    • They have started shipping the Chademo Adapter. I would not be surprised if they build a SAE-CCS one eventually too but right now there is not much point since so few SAE-CCS chargers exist.

  • 22Kw is NOT a challenge to tesla’s 135Kw charging system. Tesla offers multiple bays at it’s locations.

    Heck Tesla gives aways 19.2Kw EVSE’s to any business that want to install one….

  • Interesting, 240V AC is like the impossible-to-monopolize (because ma Bell was forcefully broken up) dial-up ISP market. I can find a 240V AC port LOTS of places and just plug in my EVSE, with the biggest hassle being having a super cheap dumb socket adapter. But high powered DC is like the high-speed ISP market.

    • Multiple standards for rapid charges isn’t going to make economic sense.

      Is there anything preventing a company like Tesla from offering ‘all the plugs”? Is there a legal way for one company to prevent charging their cars off another systems (aside from warranty stipulations)?

      • The laws of physics. You can’t channel 135 kW through any other standard other than Tesla’s unless you like to see your connector melt.

        • Tesla isn’t going to send 135 kW down the cable that ends with a 40 kW-capable plug.

          • The DC energy will not flow at all if there is no proper digital handshake procedure between the Supercharger and a properly equipped car.

  • Could I interest you in an electrical source interface to your chargers, that will reduce the electric power input to your battery chargers 80%, while delivering to your chargers the amount of electricity they normally require?

    • Can you first show us testing by a reliable independent lab which backs up your claim? If you have proof that your device works (real proof) then we can talk.

      Spam will be removed.

      • We were just awarded a us patent on the technology and yes 3rd party testing has been performed on the units. More certified 3rd party testing to follow. We are currently seeking non-exclusive assembly & distribution licensees. Thanks for your response. Steve Hardison

        • Patents don’t prove it works nor is economical.

    • Yeah, sorry, but what EV’s don’t need is the 100mpg carburetor/HHO Generator/Gasoline from water kooks showing up and setting back the entire nascent industry by creating ill-will with the public. 85%-95% of the watt-hours at the wall get into the battery today. Reducing power input is only going to slow down charging.

      Hey, if it really works, hook it back into the grid and make a fortune as a peaking-plant generator.

  • Problem with the SAE standard chargers is power. They just don’t cut the mustard.
    Sure it can deliver 80% charge in 30 minutes … on a BMW battery pack which holds less than half the energy of a Tesla pack. The SAE standard level 3 standard is not finished yet and nobody uses it , for now. Try filling up a tesla from that feeble electron spout and it takes 2 to 3 hours. By comparison , Tesla’s supercharger delivers up to 160 Kw. Charging currents peak at over 300 ampere, a current that will melt the SAE standard. SAE is designed by the standard automotive companies. once more a proof they don’t really understand electric vehicles. it is big and bulky and heavily underpowered. Not fit for purpose. Go look up a picture for chademo and SAE level 3 connectors. They are more than 5 times the size of the tesla plug.

    • So it’s putting 17.6 kwhr in 30 minutes
      Not too great

      I mean look at the Tesla “dual charger”, it’s a home charger, no massive equipment

      That outputs 17.6 kwhr in 1 hr.

      So twice as “good” as an option that you can buy for your house.

      The supercharger from Tesla puts out 85-135 kwhr per hour (depending on the age of the charger and if you have a newer car).

    • So… Inelegant.

  • Well, the BMW “fast” chargers operate at around 1/5th the speed of the Tesla Superchargers. I don’t think Tesla is too worried.

  • Here’s the issue;

    I think Tesla is aiming for 300 or so in the US, and each 100 miles apart or something like that.

    So the I3 had a 70 mile range about.
    I think a 35 radius would be best for each charger.
    So they need about 2400 stations.

    So about 8 times the number of charging locations;

    Then people will use them more because they are closer.

    Seems very costly to BMW to me

    • If they are cheap all the existing gas stations will install them. They already have the rest of the infrastructure in place. As long as they place them next to the car wash as far away from the gas bowsers as possible. No one wants a potential inverter fire or faulty L-Ion battery exploding into flames right next to a gas bowser.

      • Yes, if they are cheap enough and they can get the payback period to be a reasonable level.

        BMW is selling them for 7 K a piece for the stations .
        Very tough to justify the cost for a minority of the population that has less foot traffic. Think of it as a capital improvement, have to justify the cost and pay-back period. More than 10 yrs is a no go, 8 years is a go, 6 years or less is good.

        So let’s do some back of the envelop calculations.
        90% of the charging is done at home/work

        Well, that hurts the EV station at every gas station thought (less foot traffic into the store), then you run into the issue of sitting 30 minutes at a gas station.

        Most likely they should install at like a chain like Fridays, Chili’s or something like that.

        • With the German Government about to launch a new support initiative to push through the policy of having 1mil EV’s on the road by 2020 it looks like the Govt fleet will be forced to upgrade to EV’s and most likely they will offer incentives for fuel stations to encourage them to put the BMW charging network in place.

          • The problem becomes that Germany is only one country.

            So do a break even point for Germany based on the following parameters:

            10% charging away from home

            Number of miles charged per trip.

            Number of trips and also market share

            Also the bickering between Fiat, VW, BMW and whatnot.
            There’s the SAE standard
            There’s the Chademo standard
            Then there’s Teslas’

            It’s the same reasoning that some states give for not putting Tesla chargers on state property; they don’t want to be seen as preferentially subsidizing one company or another.

            I do encourage you to set up an excel sheet:
            With the 10% usage
            Number of EVs on the road and projected number cars in the future
            Number of stations needed.
            Payback period of 8 years

            Calculate the subsidy needed

          • What you are missing is BMW’s announcement that they will release PHEV”s for their entire range over the next 12 months.

            That means *every* new BMW sold over the coming 2 years will require access to a charging network. This “bowser” will allow them to quickly build out the network across any market that sells BMW’s. In Europe that translates to a lot of cars. In some areas where they have an affliction of rich jerks, BMW is 1 in 10 cars on the road.

            They are a status symbol of rich jerks to the point where these days young rich jerks (daddy’s money) are pimping their BMW’s which is about as narcissistic as it can get.

            Tesla is simply not competing for that segment. They are perceived more more like a sexy version of Skoda. Completely dependable with the emphasis on safety and family first but still plenty of power under the hood.

          • Germany is already pretty dense with Tesla Supercharger locations.

          • 20 – 30 charging stations for a population of 80 million is not exactly dense. If there were 10 EV stations/100,000 people with 4 – 8 chargers (i.e upto 80 chargers/100k population) it would be close to the density of the existing fossil fuel infrastructure.

            BMW are looking to match that kind of density by providing a low cost and mass produced solution. Watch them ramp up production into the 1 – 10 mil units range to get economies of scale working in their favour.

            Extrapolate it to the whole world and you will see that there is a very big opportunity for EV bowser manufacturers.

            8 billion people worldwide:

            80x10x1000x8 = 6,400,000 units

          • This is utterly ridiculous. You don’t look at how many fueling stations there are for everyone in the populace. There are over 300,000,000 people in the US, and around 250,000,000 passenger cars on US roads. But SHELL Oil only has about 25,000 locations in North America. That’s a 10,000:1 ratio.

            Of the 16,500,000 vehicles sold in the US during 2014, maybe 14,000 or so were of the Tesla Model S. Added to all sales in 2013 and 2012, that means that maybe 35,000 of them are on US roads. At that 10,000:1 ratio, Tesla Motors would be planning their fourth Supercharger location in the next few months for US owners. Instead, Tesla Motors is closer to building Superchargers at a 150:1 ratio instead.

            Most people fill up their gasoline or diesel powered cars at a service station. Most people fill up their electric cars at home. There are a lot more homes than there are gas stations.

            As battery packs improve the need to stop and charge while on the road will diminish considerably. That is part of the reason why the majority of Superchargers are placed to enable long distance travel. Less than 5% of the time a car is used is on the road.

            BMW’s ‘low cost’ solution costs $7,000 each — and they are charging their dealerships to install them. Tesla Motors low cost solution is only $750 each — and they are giving them away to motels, hotels, casinos, and resorts.

          • Try 121,446 gas stations in the US. The ratio is higher than 1:10,000 but your argument holds.

            Tesla is building a lot of chargers per EV sold because they need to cover range, not because there’s demand.

            The same thing happened when Interstate 5 opened up between LA and Sacramento. There weren’t towns along much of the route. The government contracted with gas companies to build stations every 35 miles or so. Paid them a subsidy to “be there” until traffic picked up enough to create a market.

            Tesla has to build access. After people can drive anywhere with a Tesla superchargers will be built based on demand at a particular location.

        • Meanwhile, Tesla Motors is giving away its now $750 HPWC to hotels, motels, and resorts at destination locales.

      • The gas stations won’t. For many, their supply agreements prevent offering alternatives to petroluem products.

        • Anyone who wants to open a small business will be getting into EV charging stations. The established players will get in as soon as they see a decrease in sales due to the competition from new stations or conversely the potential for increasing sales. Competition will sort out the mess soon enough.

        • Good point. It might have to be a sublet to another company on the premises. That way the independent gas station owner can’t be held to ‘blame’ for sourcing a different type of ‘fuel’.

  • The system with the lowest cost to deploy will win in the long run. but for the short term we will be stuck with the choice of Tesla, NIssan & Everyone else. Much like we have gas, diesel, LPG now.

    Keep in mind that BMW will quickly build out in Europe too. They basically control the “wanker” market here so it won’t be long before those guys ( they are all guys for some reason ) are buying BMW EV’s for their trophy wives. Tesla will be hard pressed to beat the Germans at that game. BMW simply have too much brand value/awareness/loyalty to compete with.

    Arrogant jerks who think they are god in control of the entire universe when they are driving their BMW are not going to buy a Tesla if BMW EV sedans are available instead. Tesla competes for rich but BMW dominates in the rich jerk segment.

    • I agree somewhat, it’s lowest cost to deploy and utility of said stations.
      For example, 60 miles in 30 minutes is not really good and has a really weird utility aspect.

      Essentially these “fast chargers” are there for two reasons;
      Reason 1 is road trips- in that case 250 miles per hour charge reasonable, eat, stretch, bio break, etc. Doing a 30 minute stop every hour, not really feasible.
      Reason 2- “oops, Forgot to charge”, it happens. Well, hopefully you have enough juice to make it to the station.
      In theory that shouldn’t happen, specifically because the car pushes notices to your phone when it charges, and if you have a fast enough charger at home, it’s a non-issue

      Let us look at the i3 and i8 sales and Model S sales.

      If that was true the i3 would be outselling the Tesla by a 4-1 margin (prediction based of the price difference).

      I tend to disagree, brand loyalty only goes so far, if there is a huge price difference vs performance or/ and one bitter screw up, well that pushes people away (hence why I will never purchase a Ford product again)

      I will say the i8 looks nice, but the i3, it looks like an Pontiac Aztec mated with a Smart car. The i3 is just awful looking to me at least.

      Don’t underestimate Tesla, remember, Musk is relatively young and has lots of kids so functionality is in the back of his mind. The Model X falcon wing doors are evidence (putting kids in child seats is alot easier with doors like that)

  • I might be wrong but I suspect ( just like the advent of mobile phone charging) that a physically connected EV might only be an interim step, which may give way to induction charging in the future. Such technology may make current connector standards somewhat redundant. Just a thought ….

    • There is this thing called inductive charging, still in its infancy, maybe one day, but the efficiency is lower than hard wires so you take a hit there.

    • Inductive charging will be nice, when it can be targeted, directed, and made ubiquitous.

      Currently though, it is rather wasteful, perhaps 40% efficient at best… While delivering power via cables is typically at least 85% efficient.

      Thus, it takes 100 kWh of power to deliver 85 kWh with cables… But the same transfer of charge would require ~213 kWh radiated through induction.

  • Down with Chademo! Go combo port charger!

  • Seeing all the conversation on this one, I’m starting to wonder if each car should have a charging cable that extends and plugs in, instead of the current other way around. If a charging post had 9 different outlets(9 is random;-) as opposed to 9 different cables, it would be cheaper and uncluttered. Just a thought….

  • It seems that SAE is willing to introduce a new ‘standard’ at the drop of a hat, whether anyone has adopted it or not. The traditional automobile manufacturers are fine with that strategy, as long as it results in least common denominator ‘solutions’ for electric vehicles.

  • What frequently isn’t mentioned is that owners of EV’s with a decent amount of (single day) range will charge in their garages 100% of the time. It’s only when taking an EV on a road trip that charging plug compatibility becomes an issue and even then only if the vehicle maker doesn’t provide a plug adapter. Another fact that is implied in most EV charging articles is that all charging locations are created equal while they are frequently emphatically not.

  • Zer0Sum wrote, “Tesla is a hedge against global apathy.”

    Yes. Tesla Motors must be both the carrot and the stick… Leading the way into the future, while punishing those that do not follow properly.

  • While true BMW plans to release more PHEV hybrids they are competing against their own brands too so it’s counter productive in some sense; having an EV that out performs its regular cars is bad for their R&M business and bad for the auto dealers who rely on R&M as a revenue stream.
    Remember, at least in the US, BMW must go through auto dealers and the auto dealers are their customers, not the end user, so it’s to the dealers benefit to NOT sell EVs or cars with lower R&M costs.

    As for the Top gear, neither here nor there, they are an entertianment show. Don’t get me wrong the i8 is a nice looking car, BUT the Tesla beats it in many performamce metrics.

    End of the day, look at sales metrics.
    How is the i3 and i8 selling in countries where Tesla is also selling.
    The i3 is selling roughly 1000 per month in the US.
    The i8

  • At least Tesla provides charging adapters so their users can charge just about everywhere. None of this really matters for Tesla users because they will offering battery swaps once it gets out of beta and this will give Telsa a huge competitive advantage over BMW. Nor is BMW a software company like Tesla. You never hear about BMW, Nissan, Audi or any other EV company talk about their plans for software upgrades. Tesla is about to roll out an increase in high speed torque as well as moving the speed governor on the P85d from 130 MPH to 155MPH. Let’s see what these other companies do on this front. They are all automotive companies Tesla is not a traditional auto company

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