In a growing quest to ease the burdens of automobiles on the world’s environment, electric cars are being produced and driven by more and more people. There are drawbacks involved – electric cars, at present, can’t allow users to drive extended distances due to their limited battery life. However, a new partnership seeks to expand those horizons and possibly modify auto travel in the United States.
At the Washington Auto Show this past Thursday, ChargePoint, an electric vehicle charging company with 20,000 stations available across the country, announced a working deal with BMW and Volkswagen to build two networks of high-speed electric charging stations situated along two major interstate highways.
The partnership will see all three companies jointly fund the networks, which according to those at ChargePoint, represent a ‘very significant investment.’ There is a precedent at work already thanks to Tesla and their SuperCharger network. The one catch is that these stations only charge the car company’s Model S vehicle. With ChargePoint’s new network, all electric vehicles will be able to charge up at their stations.
With regards to BMW and Volkswagen’s involvement, the i3 and the e-Golf respectively will see their productivity rise. The charging stations are expected to have two fast-chargers that will operate at either 50 kilowatts or 24 kilowatts. With those that run on 50 kW, both vehicles can be charged up to 80 percent of their total battery life in 20 minutes. With those that run on 24 kW, the estimated additional time will include 10 more minutes. Furthermore, the stations will also feature slower Level 2 electric chargers that can be used by all vehicles.
The stations will be located on two main routes: Interstate 95, from Boston to Washington D.C. and a West Coast route that will stretch from Portland to San Diego, with San Francisco and Los Angeles being covered. This is a nod to California’s heavy investment in electric vehicles – the state composes forty percent of all electric vehicle sales across the country. The networks will see stations created 50 miles from each other to account for the distance these electric automobiles can cover. The first of these stations are already being built in San Diego County now, with the entire network on both coasts expected to be finished by the end of this year.