WASHINGTON — Volkswagen and BMW are taking a page from the Tesla Supercharger network playbook by announcing on Thursday that they are teaming up to create express charging corridors along heavily-traveled routes on the East and West Coasts.
The initiative includes ChargePoint, an electric-vehicle charging network.
The charging corridors are expected to heighten the appeal of such electric vehicles as the BMW i3 and Volkswagen e-Golf. They are also expected to take the edge off of "range anxiety," the concern that an electric car's battery will run out of power before a suitable charging point is reached.
"Designed to increase the number of fast-charging locations, the initiative will help meet the large and growing demand for convenient, publicly available electric-vehicle fast chargers, including direct current Fast charging locations, and support the adoption of electric vehicles in the United States," the companies said in a joint statement.
The goal is to install nearly 100 DC Fast charging ports along both coasts, with plans to expand the program across the country.
The DC Fast chargers will be located along Interstate 95 on the East Coast from Boston to Washington, D.C. West Coast locations will cover areas of Portland, San Francisco, Los Angeles and San Diego. The charging locations will be conveniently located near restaurants, shopping centers and rest stops.
The locations will be spaced at a maximum of 50 miles apart, "making it even easier to take long road trips in an EV," the companies said.
The chargers will be available to any owner of an EV that uses a DC Fast Charging capability. Locations will also include Level 2 chargers, which are compatible with all electric vehicles.
Installations have already started on the West Coast, with the first location in San Diego County.
When charging at a 50 kW station, both the BMW i3 and Volkswagen e-Golf can charge up to 80 percent in 20 minutes.
Tesla Motors has been a pioneer in this effort, setting up a growing U.S. Supercharger network that provides free connectors that charge the Tesla Model S in minutes instead of hours. There are 356 Supercharger stations with 1,946 Superchargers, according to the automaker.
The U.S. Department of Energy says there are 8,972 electric stations in the U.S. with 22,358 charging outlets.
Edmunds says: This is a major step in the development of the U.S. e-mobility infrastructure and should be a big factor for car shoppers on both coasts who are considering an electric vehicle.