BMW Charging and Mini Charging expand their range of charging products for the market launch of the fifth generation of the BMW electrification kit. Together with the iX3 as the first model of this fifth-generation, a new mobile charging station is being introduced, and there is now also a bonus point system for plug-in hybrids.
First of all, the ‘BMW Flexible Fast Charger’ is not a quick charging station, but a mobile charging station in the style of a Go-e Charger, Juice Booster or NRGKick. With the Porsche Mobile Charger, Porsche also offers such a solution with its PHEV and BEV, while Opel uses the ‘Universal Charger’, a Juice Booster in its own brand design.
The advantage of the BMW Flexible Fast Charger in comparison to a conventional Schuko emergency charging is its flexibility: With various adapters, the 11 kW charging solution can be adapted to the infrastructure, for example with a CEE-32 connection for an industrial socket or suitable adapters for household sockets in other countries. As BMW specifies in response to a request from electrive, the iX3 will not be supplied with the Flexible Fast Charger ex works. “When purchasing a BMW iX3, customers will receive a voucher which they can redeem to purchase charging equipment,” said a spokesperson. “The amount of the voucher corresponds to the value of the Flexible Fast Charger.”
In addition to the mobile charger, BMW will offer two wall boxes: The BMW wall box with up to 22 kW or a smart wall box, which will be offered with “market-specific partners” depending on the country. The latter is intended for customers who want to integrate their wall box into their home energy management system or who want to settle the charging costs separately, for example, as company car drivers with their employer. BMW does not specify who the partner for Germany is in the communication. All charging solutions for the home should be able to be combined with an installation package at a fixed price (provided the appropriate structural requirements are met) and, if desired, a green electricity tariff.
For public charging, BMW says it will include a BMW Charging Card, starting with the iX3, which can be used to charge at over 160,000 charging points in Europe and at around 24,000 charging points in Germany. The basic fee is included for one year – BMW apparently means the “Active” tariff here, which will cost five euros per month from 2021. As BMW confirms on request, the optional “Ionity Plus” package for 13 euros per month is also included – this is not stated in the BMW announcement. With this package, the kWh price will drop from the familiar 0.79 €/kWh (also in the Active tariff) to 0.29 €/kWh.
In addition, there will also be bundled charging offers for fleet customers and company car users – “from needs analysis and installation to operation and billing”, BMW announces. One feature in particular is likely to affect PHEV company cars, which are currently the subject of much criticism: Vehicle users will be able to charge their cars at home, at work and in public places using a standard charging card. However, the smart wall box at home is required so that the amount of electricity charged can be recorded for billing purposes.
Free charging for electrically driven kilometres for plug-in hybrids
BMW also announced a sort of loyalty program for PHEV drivers in their German announcement: BMW Points. The system is designed to reward high electric driving percentages by awarding bonus points. In the eDrive Zones, where the car automatically switches to electric mode via geofencing, two points are awarded for each kilometer driven electrically, otherwise it is one BMW Point per kilometer.
The collected points can be redeemed for charging credits at BMW Charging. A conversion is however only possible starting from a certain assets: 1,250 BMW Points correspond to a assets of 10 euro. For 3,000 points 25 euro are credited, for 5,800 points 50 euro. The question is, how great is the motivation of many BMW PHEV drivers for the free charging current – when the employer asks for a (BMW) charging card anyway.
The BMW-Points program is aimed exclusively at PHEV customers; drivers of an i3 or, in the future, an iX3 will be excluded. To qualify for the program, the vehicle must be equipped with the latest generation of the display and control system, BMW Operating System 7, and BMW Live Cockpit Plus or Professional. According to BMW, this currently includes the PHEV versions of the 3, 5, 7 and X5 xDrive45e series, with further models to follow continuously.
With reporting by Sebastian Schaal, Germany.
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