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BMW and Nissan Expand EV Infrastructure Partnership

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【Summary】The two competing car manufacturers have agreed to disagree on the overall design and functionality of their vehicles. However, when it comes to charging infrastructure, both businesses see eye-to-eye on the lack of EV stations across the US.

Original Michael Cheng    Jan 31, 2017 6:23 AM PT
BMW and Nissan Expand EV Infrastructure Partnership

BMW, with the release of the BMW i3, and Nissan, with its fleet of iconic Nissan Leafs, are deeply invested in the electric vehicle (EV) market. Both EV models operate very differently, which can be seen in their varied charging styles. 

The European carmaker, along with Chevrolet and Volkswagen, is currently using the Combined Charging System (CSS); while the Japanese auto manufacturer, along with Kia and Mitsubishi, relies on CHAdeMo charging standards. Both offer roughly 50 kW of power, with CCS stations leading in installations by roughly 900. Interestingly, EV charging stations can cater to both plug-in methods using compatible connectors.

Note: Tesla is the only company using its own EV charging system, i.e., Tesla Supercharger (offering 135 kW of nominal power with over 2010 charging locations).

Addressing EV Infrastructure   

The two competing car manufacturers have agreed to disagree on the overall design and functionality of their vehicles. However, when it comes to charging infrastructure, both businesses see eye-to-eye on the lack of EV stations across the US. This has led to a unique partnership between the two companies. In a newly launched collaboration, BMW and Nissan will support the expansion of EVgo locations in over 50 US-based metro areas.

Under the partnership, the group vows to add up to 174 EVgo charging hubs in 33 states. The stations will offer 50 kW DC charging capabilities for both types of EVs. The duo explained that the new locations could facilitate longer driving experiences on lengthy roadways and popular routes. For 2017, EV owners may see up to 50 new dual-port DC fast chargers come to fruition.

Support from EVgo

EVgo is currently pioneering the installation of charging hubs with over 670 dual-port DC stations installed across the country. The startup is developing a new charging standard that pushes out a whopping 350 kilowatts of power or up to seven times the power output of today's mainstream EV chargers. At the moment, the hubs only cater to a handful of EVs that can handle that amount of power (plugging in an early model Nissan Leaf, for example, will cause the battery to melt almost instantly due to massive heat generation).

The EV charging network business is also in the process of upgrading its software platform for users through a partnership with Driivz, a SaaS software solutions company that specializes in infrastructure. The new user-friendly platform will offer access to a mobile app and a tech-savvy web portal for remote EV charging, enrollment, billing/payments and smart notifications.

"For leading retailers and other businesses that host EVgo's EV chargers at their locations, EVgo will offer a new direct access portal for charge reporting and data collection. For automobile manufacturers that partner with EVgo on special billing and promotion programs, EVgo will offer faster and more robust reporting as well," said EVgo in an email.

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