BMW has just signed a cooperation agreement with the Chinese state-owned energy supplier State Grid to drive forward the expansion of the Chinese store network for electric cars. One of the goals is to more than double the existing range of charging points to around 270,000 by the end of this year.
About 80,000 of these will be DC chargers, according to Chinese media reports. This is primarily to simplify emission-free long-distance travel, and there is talk of a rapid charging network along 50,000 kilometres of motorways. BMW will include the “Intercity” rapid charging stations of State Grid Electric Vehicle Service (EVS) in its charging network.
The two partners say they want to develop fast-charging technologies that will reduce charging time to 10 to 20 minutes but further details have not yet been disclosed. For the time being, the focus is likely to be on expanding the existing grid. A charging facility is to be built every 50 kilometres along the motorways by the end of the year.
BMW is aiming to offer consumers the “one-stop” digital charging experience that includes both charging and payment through BMW’s cloud-based connected application. BMW will tailor services for consumers by means the data collected that shows users’ behaviour and preferences.
BMW currently has 130,000 charging points in China and has sold around 60,000 new energy vehicles in China in 2019. According to Jochen Goller, President and CEO of BMW Group Region China, BMW will roll out six NEV models this year while vigorously developing the eDrive technology, dealership network, charging facilities and digital services in the world’s biggest electric vehicle market.
State Grid announced a charging network offensive in April: 78,000 new charging points are to be created by the end of the year, including 53,000 at private residential buildings and 18,000 for public use. The investment amounts to 2.7 billion yuan, around 350 million euros.
The announcement by BMW and State Grid comes just one week after the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) announced that it would push ahead with the construction of charging points and improve their interoperability, according to a report by the state news agency Xinhua.
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