BMW makes ‘substantial donation’ towards EV highway

BMW makes ‘substantial donation’ towards EV highway

BMW New Zealand has made a ‘substantial donation’ towards the roll out of electric vehicle fast-charging infrastructure.

The company announced today a partnership with charging-operator Charge Net NZ, which will see the company donate a significant but undisclosed sum for the installation of DC fast chargers.

It will also bring its ChargeNow charging brand to New Zealand. That brand will cover some of its own chargers, as well as share branding on the Charge Net units.

Charge Net will provide the ChargeNow RFID payment cards and backend for New Zealand. While details are still being confirmed, BMW customers will likely receive a discount when paying for their charging.

The BMW i3 will be changing to a CCS Type 2 socket to enable fast charging, and BMW told AutoTalk they are looking at retrofit options for the first of the new larger-battery model i3s being delivered now.

Money for the project is coming from BMW New Zealand’s parent BMW AG – and the deal was noted in a public presentation in Germany last month.

The BMW-Charge Net ‘Electric Highway’ will focus on major cities, but will enable an electric vehicle to drive around New Zealand using DC fast-charge stations. Over 100 DC stations are earmarked to connect New Zealand by the end of 2017, and already Charge Net NZ has gone live nationally with 20 fast-charging stations.

BMW New Zealand managing director Florian Renndorfer says the company is committed to shaping the mobility of this century and the next 100 years.

“BMW is a leader in electric vehicle technology worldwide,” Renndorfer says. “The BMW i3 is the world’s first purpose-built electric vehicle, imagined, designed and built from the ground up to be purely electric.

“While the BMW i3 was designed as a mega-city vehicle, the extended range available on the latest BMW i3 94Ah means it can now be a mega-country vehicle too.

“And our support of Charge Net NZ will give BMW i3 owners the option to break out of their normal urban driving environment and tackle long distances,” Renndorfer says.

Charge Net chief executive Steve West welcomed the support – saying it is an honour for the company he founded to work with the German brand.

“I truly believe that the electrification of the fleet is the future of New Zealand, and BMW is showing impressive leadership by offering such a range of plug-in vehicles, and supporting the New Zealand market so actively.

“BMW’s generous support is helping Charge Net NZ secure this future for New Zealand, and it’s fantastic to see such a commitment to developing Electric Vehicle charging infrastructure in New Zealand.

“BMW is proving that they are not afraid of the future, but rather helping drivers to get there sooner, with good information, supporting charging infrastructure, and excellent after sales service,” says.

The soon-to-be-launched i3 94Ah pure-electric model offers up to 200km range from its lithium-ion battery pack, while the Range-Extended i3 (REx) offers an additional 150km provided by an on-board petrol generator, totaling 350km.

BMW plug-in hybrid eDrive is offered in New Zealand on the BMW 225xe Active Tourer, 330e Sedan, X5xDrive40e, BMW 740e Sedan and BMW i8 sports car. The plug-in hybrid models are not fast-charge capable.

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