BMW Group has just made EV charging much easier for BMW and MINI electric vehicle owners in the UK. Naturally, for many EV owners, the vast majority of charging is done at home. However, for those times when you need to charge away from home, or if you don’t have home charging at all, the most important thing to make EV life easier is to make public EV charging easy, uniform, and reliable. With that in mind, it seems that BMW Group has made charging for its EV charging owners about as easy as it can get.
BMW & MINI EV Charging Made Easy
With a single charging card, BMW and MINI EV drivers can charge at more than 11,000 charge points in the UK. There’s also an app and website for each of them.
In addition to the 11,000+ charging stations in the UK, drivers have access to many more charging stations across Europe. The press release about the news mentions 173,000 charge points. However, the “MINI Charging” site mentions 237,882 charge points, and the “BMW Charging” site mentions 259,345 charge points. Figure that out if you can.
Naturally, these charge points are not BMW charge points. Rather, the company has made partnerships with numerous charging networks, and the BMW and MINI Charging cards give the drivers access to all of those networks. Currently, networks these drivers have access to include: IONITY, bp pulse (including ChargeYourCar), ESB, Osprey, Source London and Chargepoint Network UK (including INSTAVOLT), and others.
EV drivers have a choice of monthly charging packages (there are two of them), or they can choose a pay-as-you-go option. Here are many more details on the charging packages and options: “BMW or MINI Charging customers can register for a pay-as-you-go ‘Flex tariff’, which provides the driver with access to all included network operators using a single charge card, without the need for a monthly membership or subscription to each individual operator. Customers choosing this tariff simply pay each month for the charging they have used.
“For drivers who use public charging more frequently, BMW and MINI Charging offers two additional monthly subscription packages. The ‘bp pulse’ package (£7.85 per month) offers customers preferential pricing per/kWh when charging at over 5,500 bp pulse charging points. Customers using up to 22kW AC pay just £0.12 per kWh, up to 43kW AC or 50kW DC is £0.15 per kWh, and up to 150kW DC at £0.27 per kWh.
“For drivers who use the IONITY charging network, the ‘IONITY Plus’ package (£11.30 per month) provides access to a preferential rate of just £0.26 per kWh, saving drivers £0.43 per kWh compared to the pay-as-you-go rate when using up to 350kW DC charging.
“Customers who purchase a new fully-electric or plug-in hybrid BMW or MINI via a BMW or MINI Centre – including the new MINI Electric – are offered the ‘bp pulse’ package for 12 months without subscription fee. BMW customers who purchase a new BMW iX3 or BMW iX vehicle via a BMW Centre are also eligible for the ‘IONITY Plus’ package for 12 months, without subscription fee.”
BMW Electric Powertrain Production Ramping Up
This announcement comes as BMW ramps up pure electric vehicle production and sales, and component sales. BMW recently announced that it has begun production of electric powertrains for the fully electric BMW iX and BMW i4 in in Dingolfing, Germany, which is where the electric motor for the BMW iX3 has been produced since 2020. Also, production of 5th generation batteries and battery modules for the BMW iX and BMW i4 has begun in Dingolfing. And battery component production began at Plant Regensburg and Plant Leipzig in April and May 2021.
BMW actually produces what it calls e-drives. An e-drive is an electric motor, power electronics, and transmission integrated. BMW Group is investing more than €500 million from 2020 to 2022 into production capacity for e-drives at Dingolfing. At the end of that period, it should be producing e-drives for 500,000 electrified vehicles a year. (Of course, some of the info here indicates that BMW is still partly focused on electrified vehicles that are not 100% fully electric.)
“We expect at least 50 percent of the vehicles we deliver to our customers worldwide to be electrified by 2030. To achieve this, we are relying on our extensive in-house drive train expertise: We are increasing capacity at existing drive train production locations – like here in Dingolfing – and developing capabilities at others – like recently in Regensburg and Leipzig,” explained Dr Michael Nikolaides, Senior Vice President, Production Engines and E-Drives, BMW Group.
BMW iX and BMW i4 production is beginning soon as well. The former at BMW Group Plant Dingolfing and the latter at Plant Munich.
Don’t Miss Out — Electric Vehicle Growth Booming In UK & Europe
Of course, BMW Group isn’t doing all of this out of saintly altruism. Electric vehicles are the future, and increasingly the present. As Max Holland reported two days ago, 14.7% of auto sales in the UK in May were plug-in vehicle sales. January through May, “cumulative plugin share now stands at 13.8%, up almost 2x from 7.2% by this point in 2020.”
Also, although BMW was early to roll out a fully electric car built electric from the ground up (the i3), it is not exactly a leader in the market today. Actually, well, just look at the plug-in vehicle leaderboard for Europe as a whole and for the United Kingdom:
BMW has a long ways to go to be a serious player in the electric vehicle market. The iX and i4 are steps in the right direction, and the news of increasing production capacity are good signs. Additionally, the BMW & MINI Charging card rollout are yet another sign that BMW is pushing harder than before to open up the EV world to its customers.
We shall see.
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