In years gone by it seemed that EV manufacturers, EV retailers, and recharging network providers were happy to be at loggerheads with each other, rather than working together. We saw an array of charging technologies hit the market with different protocols and different companies decided to go in very different directions. Slowly but surely, as the electric industry continues to develop recharging network providers are now looking to work with electric vehicle manufacturers. The latest such deal involves the BMW i3, which is the company's first all-electric production vehicle.
So what will BMW i3 owners have access to and why do many believe it is a revolutionary deal for not only BMW but the electric vehicle market?
BMW has announced that its ConnectedDrive navigation system has fully incorporated ChargePoint's charging network location system. This ensures that BMW electric vehicle drivers now, and in the future, will be able to see at a glance which ChargePoint facilities are within their range and perhaps more importantly, which ones are busy and which ones are free. On the surface this may sound fairly irrelevant but when you bear in mind the time it takes to fully charge, or even partially recharge, an electric vehicle battery, the last thing you want to do is be stuck in a queue.
Quote from ElectricForum.com : "BMW recently announced a joint EV venture in China known as the "Zinoro" but why is BMW targeting China? Is this the right move to take advantage of the Chinese government's push in the EV market?"
While this facility will be available within the car, BMW also revealed that it will be part of the company’s remote mobile application. This will give BMW i3 drivers access to the ChargePoint network on the move and allow them to plan ahead in relation to their journey.
BMW investing in electric vehicles
As we covered in one of our earlier articles, BMW has invested significant funding into the electric vehicle market and despite being a relatively late entrant the company is starting to make waves. It may well turn out that the company was right to hold back, to review the market, and monitor developments with a view to entering when the time was right. Some would suggest that BMW has been late to the marketplace while others may well suggest the timing has been impeccable.
In many ways the company is benefiting from media coverage of Tesla Motors dominating the higher end of the electric vehicle market, as well as an already loyal customer base. BMW has long been associated with quality, durability and luxury driving and thankfully the electric vehicle offerings from the company carry on this very important tradition. In some ways it was a big risk for BMW to invest so much money into the electric vehicle market because if the vehicles were seen to be "substandard" or did not compare well to their gasoline/petrol counterparts then there may have been some reduction in brand value. However, it does look as though the company got it right.
In years gone by electric vehicle manufacturers, retailers and recharging service providers were often at loggerheads and showed little appetite for working together. The situation has changed dramatically over the last few years and thankfully all parties are coming together for the general benefit of the industry and it is starting to pay dividends. The announcement that the BMW i3 will incorporate the ChargePoint network location service is certainly a coup for ChargePoint but it also has major benefits for BMW and BMW customers going forward.