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BMW and Volkswagen blanket busy US highways with EV chargers

BMW and Volkswagen blanket busy US highways with EV chargers


Express Charging Corridors Initiative aims to spur the adoption of electric vehicles with DC chargers

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Nearly 100 public electric vehicle charging stations have been installed along major coastal highways in the US, as part of an initiative from BMW, Volkswagen, and ChargePoint, a California-based EV infrastructure company. In a press release published Tuesday, the companies said that a total of 95 direct current (DC) charging stations have been installed along Interstate 95 on the East Coast, from Boston to Washington, DC, and along Interstate 5 and Highway 1 on the West Coast, from Portland to San Diego.

The hope is that the so-called Express Charging Corridors Initiative, announced last year, will spur the adoption of EVs in the US by making it easier to travel long distances. The chargers are installed near restaurants, rest stops, and shopping centers, and are spaced about 50 miles apart. They offer 50kW or 24kW DC charging with SAE Combo connectors, found in cars such as the BMW i3 and Volkswagen e-Golf, and many also support CHAdeMO connectors, which are used by the Nissan Leaf. The stations are faster than the 240-volt Level 2 chargers used at most public locations today, enabling drivers to reach 80 percent in 20 minutes, according to the companies.

The lack of charging infrastructure has been seen as a major hurdle to EV adoption across the US. There are currently more than 14,300 public EV charging stations across the US, according to the Department of Energy, and the government has taken steps to spur their development. In July, the Department of Energy expanded a $4.5 billion loan program to include EV charging stations, as part of a broader push from the Obama administration to encourage EV adoption.

The Express Charging Corridors Initiative mounts a challenge to Tesla's proprietary Supercharger network, which is available to Model S owners and includes 705 stations. BMW has also partnered with EVgo to bring "hundreds" of DC charging stations to 25 cities across the US, under a collaboration announced last year.