Tesla's Supercharger network might be getting most of the headlines because it's the most ambitious fast-charging infrastructure project for EVs so far, but that doesn't mean that the competition is sitting on its hands.
BMW is backing the ChargeNow DC Fast network, which is being built in partnership with NRG's eVgo. The network already has about 100 stations, most in California, but that was just the beginning: 500 new ones will be built in cities around the U.S. (more details on that below) over the next year.
By year-end 2015, the program will bring at least one 50 kW DC Fast Combo location to all but one of the 25 largest markets, and by year-end 2016 there will be more than 400 additional locations for BMW i3 drivers, and any EV driver of a vehicle that uses the DC Fast Combo standard. [...] EVgo Stations are designed to support both current and future charging technology up to 150 kW. Some locations have the capacity to deliver charging up to 400 kW. EVgo stations can serve the charging needs of all EV drivers regardless of the EV they drive with multiple charging standard options.
Those who buy or lease BMW i3 EVs get a 24-month no-cost access card that allows them to do either a 30-minute DC Fast Combo charging or a 1-hour Level 2 charging at EVgo Stations. A BMW i3 vehicle can charge up to 80% in just 20-30 minutes using a DC Fast Combo charger. This free access to the eVgo stations last for 24 months from the date of enrollment into the program. BMW i3 owners can sign up for that perk here (follow the link for a list of the markets where the stations can be found).
One notable thing about the i3: with an EPA rating of 124 MPGe, it's the most efficient car sold in the U.S. It's powered by a lithium-ion battery. BMW claims a real-world range of 80 – 100 miles (130 - 160 km) in everyday driving, something that can be increased by up to approximately 12% in ECO PRO mode, and by the same amount additionally in ECO PRO+ mode.
Here's a video overview of the i3:
Here's the full list of tech specs:
-170-hp, 184 lb-ft hybrid-synchronous electric motor with max. revs of 11,400 rpm.
-80-100 mile real-world EV range.
-22-kWh lithium-ion battery, which weighs 450 lbs.
-650cc gasoline powered Range Extender optional; holds charge, doesn’t power wheels.
-0-30mph in 3.5 seconds, 0-60mph in approximately 7.0 seconds (preliminary).
-Top speed of 93 mph, electronically limited to preserve efficiency.
-BMW’s signature, near-perfect 50-50 weight distribution.
-Ultra-tight turning radius (32.3 ft), which is ideal for city driving.
-Macpherson strut front and 5-link rear suspension set up.
-Single Pedal Driving Concept with Brake Energy Regeneration, which feeds power back into battery.
-3 drive modes: Comfort, ECO PRO and ECO PRO+.
-3 hour 220 V @32 amps charging time.
-Optional SAE DC Combo Fast Charging allows for 80% charge in 20mins; 100% in 30 mins