BMW Plans Tesla Motors Inc Like Charging Network

Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA) has become an inspiration for some of the biggest names in the auto manufacturing industry, and this was proven yet again when Bayerische Motoren Werke AG (ETR:BMW) (FRA:BMW) North America’s head of electric vehicle sales strategies expressed plans to launch a Tesla-like supercharger network of electric vehicle recharging stations.


BMW Plans Tesla Motors Inc Like Charging Network

BMW charger quick, cost effective

Jacob Harb, head of electric vehicle sales and strategy for BMW North America said in an interview with AutoGuide that the network will include their “game changing” DC charger that will deliver an 80% charge in approximately 30 minutes. Electric vehicles from other brands will also be compatible with the network. Harp added that such chargers usually cost about $50,000 each and are similar to a household refrigerator in size. But BMW’s unit will cost just $6,500 and measures 24×17 inches.

Harb said that an official announcement will be made during the North American International Auto Show, adding that they want to set up those charging stations everywhere. Harb said, “I don’t think [Tesla is] going to be happy with how quickly these things roll out.”

With its own charging network, the company wants to make its electric vehicles more desirable for customers. BMW is eyeing the market dominated by Tesla at present, and the company believes that by providing a charging network, it will be able to attract more people toward its plug-in cars.

Plans to topple Tesla

Currently Tesla is outpacing other electric vehicle brands, including BMW, in terms of both technology and charging network. However, BMW tasted success with the i3 with around 1,000 units per month rolling out onto the streets.

Tesla set up 135 Superchargers stations in North America last year, making it easier for Model S owners to drive from New York to L.A. However, these chargers are limited only to Tesla cars, whereas BMW’s  will make its charger available for other models and will be in line with the SEA standardized charging plug that is compatible with all other plug-in cars except for Tesla and Nissan.

Harb did not talk about the number of chargers BMW is planning to set up and has asked market watchers to wait for the official announcement.

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  • JolinarCZ

    Tesla is already 10 years old, you know… BMW should make long range EV instead of talking bullshit about inferior 24kW chargers.
    I hope I’m wrong and their chargers will be same 120kW or more as Teslas are.

  • JolinarCZ

    $750 is for 20kW home AC charger. The thing that NO BMW can do :-) There is no single one BMW capable of charging 20kW AC power (like at your home).
    And now BMW is installing 24kW DC units I heard – so that is 5 times SLOWER than Tesla SuperCharger at 120kW :-D

  • JolinarCZ

    BMW is rolling out only 24kW units? Really? That’s even worse than Nissans CHAdeMO units :-D
    Tesla chargers are 5x faster. BMW really don’t understand what’s going on…

  • JolinarCZ

    BMW is planning another slow network? Current CCS and CHAdeMOs are only 50kW max, while Tesla has 120kW units. Good luck with that BMW!

  • Thomas Schmidt

    yeah Moc, dream on!!! Just one point: 750 USD costs for Tesla to install a super-charger station, are you kidding?? Maybe it’s in the meantime 75.000 USD. Here a statement from from the press articles: “Tesla opened its first Superchargers last October. At the time, the company said each station cost around $250,000 to install. Today, Musk said the stations cost $150,000 without solar and $300,000 if they have solar panels.”.
    No other car maker was so stupid trying to install its own proprietary charging-network. Their costs explode and this probably is the reason why they still have not installed another element of their “vision”, the announced “Battery swap stations”. With all their exploding expenses, silly lifelong free charging and other warranties the company will run out of money very soon.

  • Moc

    BMW might need over 2500 fast charger because of their limited range. But Tesla doesn’t need that many because of it power and the range of the car.

    BMW will have to install their charger at about 38mile distance between them, while Tesla install them 124mile between them. That quite a huge difference when your building a network.

    No standard exist that offer the charging speed Tesla want with the customer experience they want to give. Even in the Europe, they didn’t use the standard connector because it wasn’t giving a good user experience for the supercharging.

    Tesla said they open their network to anyone who have battery that can handle the power, and who is willing to prepay the cost of the supercharger in the price of their car. It as open as it can be.

  • TedKidd

    Yep. Tesla has both j and CHAdeMO adapters. I’m sure if enough SEA chargers become available they’ll have SEA too.

    Any others cross compatible? I think not…

  • TedKidd

    Wish they would switch to the Tesla charge plug. Might consider a BMW instead of a Tesla.

  • Vaidas

    Why then it has 98% customer satisfaction rating, the highest of any car in Consumer Reports survey? What eludes other manufacturers that makes such inexperienced company like Tesla able to outdo them?

  • Sam

    TESLA 85 kWh battery pack with range of 265 mile and BMW I3 with 18.8 kWh battery pack with range of 100 miles. Also, 100k vs 44k price. Who is efficient? TESLA talks too much and not BMW. BMW tested for 4 years before releasing the actual car since it does cares about customers. TESLA is inexperienced and it would be interesting even if it persists after 5 years…..

  • Moc

    20kW Tesla charger station cost… 750$ ! So for every single charger BMW install, Tesla can install 8 of theirs. Also, the installation is way more smaller and require no special skill to install. It also have a much longer life than the BMW one.

    Tesla charger operation is also MUCH more pleasing than the one for their competitor.

    Now, Tesla also have SuperCharger, that is over 4 time more powerful. So your BMW charge that take over 30min for 60miles of range. I’ll charge for 10 minutes to get that 60miles… oh wait, I can wait another 12 minutes to get a total of 120miles ! Even after 30 minutes of charging (157miles), I still charge at 50kW, double as fast as your BMW charger.

    Oh, also, Tesla charger is FREE for all their owner. No card to pass, just park, get out of the car, plug and go to the bathroom, get a coffee refill and your ready to get back on the road to the next SuperCharger.

    You coffee won’t even be ready for a refill after your 60miles, though, after the 30 minute wait, it might be :)

    Ok I’m being a little bit evil here, but I’m just trying to bring you the point that there is not a single point BMW have raised that is in BMW favor here.

    Note also that Tesla have to install under less than half the number of charger for Intercity connection than BMW does, and pretty much require no charger in the city except at home to recharge because of the huge range you have compare to the limited range of other EV.

    Tesla installation already have high power installed, so increasing from 120kW to 240kW or higher is pretty quickly done, compare to BMW plan to upgrade from 25kW to even 50kW. Also, Tesla install near facility where as BMW will probably install at their dealer where they are most likely fenced during night and parking will be ICE by other car due to their limited parking. Also those are mostly located in larger city, so inter city at under 60mile range in the winter won’t be possible.

    So I’m interested to see what BMW will announces, but even if they install 10 000 charger 25kW charger, I won’t have any envie of BMW when I’m traveling cross-country !

  • Dave_SRQ

    I disagree that the Nissan DC charger network is well placed, since most of them (East Coast) are located in dealerships, with availability subject to business hours. I guess it doesn’t matter since the Leaf is intended to be a city car. Aside from Tesla and Nissan, the other automakers are relying on PHEVs (gasoline, for extended range).

  • Asoka

    One addition to the DC fast chargers usable by the Leaf – at least in Washington and Oregon, the West Coast Electric Highway is a very real and workable solution for enabling driving the Leaf outside of the confines of cities. Clearly not as convenient as driving a gas car, but the network is well placed to enable driving for an hour, charging for 20 minutes, and repeating, throughout the 2 states (chargers every 30-60 miles). One thing you learn pretty quickly is that regardless of battery size, the DC fast charging is game changing for the vehicles it enables.

    The rest of your point is spot on. A 24 kw “fast” charger will only be a fall back option at best for a Tesla owner. Much much better than nothing, but will only come into play when the Model S is well away from the Supercharging network.

    To the BMW marketing executives comment about Tesla not liking how fast it’s going to roll out, he so deeply doesn’t understand Tesla it’s comical. Tesla will cheer as loudly as anybody to see BMW helping develop charging infrastructure at whatever level they get involved in. Do enough of it, and we’ll have a Tesla adapter to be able to make use of the network.

  • Dave_SRQ

    Hilarious! I have one question – WHY?
    BMW is developing Plug-In Hybrid EVs (PHEVs). Lots of them. They are supposed to average 22 miles on battery, then you’re on gasoline for the rest of the day, or for the rest of your road trip. BMW doesn’t need an infrastructure of 24kW DC charging stations, because gasoline enables road trips in a PHEV, and gas stations are everywhere.

    The funny part is that BMW wants to copy Tesla, but they don’t know why. Tesla’s long range EVs need a fast charging infrastructure to enable road trips. BMW isn’t planning on developing any long range, all electric EVs. So . .

  • Tom Moore

    Good to see some seeds of potential rivalry developing. Competition makes better products!

  • Joe

    I’d liken it to a VW Passat TDI, 795 mile range, you’d care less how many VW gas stations there are. If you had a 230 mile Subaru, you’d better be close to a gas station. That’s the equivalent of Tesla vs BMW range anxiety. BMW needs to deploy 10 times as many fast chargers, to equal the range anxiety suppression of a Tesla fast charger.

  • Smart Electric

    Let me get this straight.

    1. BMW rolling out 24kW DC charge points at some undefined rate
    2. Tesla rolling out 130kW DC charge SITES with 6+ charging bays at a rate of one SITE PER DAY.
    3. Tesla rolling out sites located along highway routes to enable their 500km range electric car to traverse continents.

    Thanks Tesla for leading, thanks BMW for following.

  • Smart Electric

    Tesla is growing at a rate of one charge SITE per day, every day. The Tesla Superchargers are 6x more powerful than the BMW mentioned, and 2x better than the best Nissan deploys. Tesla has the best availability story BY FAR amongst these DC charging systems.

    Each supercharger site typically has 6+ individual charging spots, whereas the existing roll out by other vendors if usually one lower power DC charger with questionable availability.

  • Joe Howard

    More charging options for Tesla owners via adapters albeit much slower then superchargers always welcome.. Always nice to optionally top off ;-)

  • Captain America

    So, you are shorting Tesla stock. Good luck.

  • TripleFelix

    It is about critical mass. Apple achieved critical mass. It will take at least 2500 fast chargers to have critical mass for BEVs to be viable for the mainstream buyer n the US. Tesla has 125 and they will never be anywhere near critical mass with a strategy of Tesla-only chargers. This would be like having Toyota gas stations, VW gas stations, Ford gas stations, Chevy gas stations and Subaru gas stations — and good luck finding a Kia gas station.

  • Thomas Schmidt

    That will finally kill Tesla. Together will all the other announcements in the last few days from the big car makers who announced a number of hybrids, fuel cells and EVs that will mean a fierce competition to Tesla. Sorry, but the author’s statement that “Tesla is outpacing competitors…in terms of both technology and charging network” is simply a joke. First of all, Tesla has no substantial patent. What valuable patents does Tesla own?? I mean they offered all their patents to its competitors FOR FREE (normally you don’t give away your patents for free provided they are valuable – at least can’t remember Apple or Samsung or anyone else giving its intellectual property + patents away for free :-). ). But it seems no one is interested in their patents and no one seems to be interested to join their “super-charger network”, at least I haven’t heard that any other car maker expressed its interest in Tesla’s patents so far. Even worse, BMW just made clear that they are NOT interested. And how is Tesla pacing out anyone with their “Charging network”?? Who would call 135 “super-chargers” in North America a “Network” – I call it a joke. BMW with its financial power can afford to install ten thousands of their chargers if they want. And if their charger will be much cheaper and open to competitors and based on industry standards then it’s even worse for Tesla.

  • Joe

    Compatible connectors would be ideal, but as Apple proved over and over, compatibility is not necessary to be wildly successful.

  • Joe

    He’s right about one thing, Tesla won’t be happy. These 24kw slow chargers will be a major black eye for the whole EV industry.

  • Pierre

    Very well said !

  • Pierre

    BMW is very good at talking, but not very much in acting. I’m buying a Tesla

  • Captain America

    The future is going to belong to EVs that have such a large range (500+ miles) that you won’t care about frequent recharging. Or, EVs with range extenders, that can utilize any existing gas station. Nobody wants to stop every 70 miles and recharge for 30 minutes.

    There would be an increasing demand for more charging stations that compatible with all cars, not just a single one. But that does nothing to benefit BMW specifically over other EV makers.

  • TripleFelix

    The key is “Electric vehicles from other brands will also be compatible with the network.” That’s what will make the EV concept sustainable. There is no future in a proprietary single-brand charging network.

  • RobertBoston

    Here’s the real information we can learn from this news: BMW doesn’t intend to offer a long-distance (battery-only) EV. Their 24 kW charger would take 2.5 hours to add 200 miles of range, a task that Tesla’s 135 kW SuperChargers can accomplish in about 30 minutes. Bottom line for investors: BMW is ceding the long-distance EV space to Tesla.

    Better yet, the Cyber Monday special price on TSLA is continuing today, so it’s a good time to stock up.

  • ScepticMatt

    We’ve heard from their 24 kW “fast” chargers before.
    Wake me up when they build 100+ kW CCS chargers.

  • Mavi57

    “the network will include their “game changing” DC charger that will deliver an 80% charge in approximately 30 minutes.” 80% of what? An i3 (18.8 kWh) or i8 (7.1 kWh) battery? Game changing? Ridiculous! Tesla can sleep on both ears, nothing has happened yet or will happen for a long time.