German automakers BMW and Volkswagen are taking on Tesla by rolling out fast chargers on popular east and west coast highways.
BMW and Volkswagen have partnered with ChargePoint to install 95 new public fast-charging stations along two of the busiest highways in the U.S. Called the Express Charging Corridors Initiative, the fast charging network partners say the goal is meeting demand for fast-charging stations and to encourage drivers to switch over from gas-powered to electric-powered cars.
East coast drivers of plug-in electrified vehicles can stop at ChargePoint stations on Interstate 95 from Boston through New York City and from Philadelphia to Washington D.C. On the west coast, fast chargers have been installed on Interstate 5 and Highway 101 from Portland, Ore., to San Francisco and from Los Angeles to San Diego.
They’ve been installed to service travelers about every 50 miles along these routes as they park and charge at restaurants, shopping centers, and rest stops. Popular vacation spots have been included, such Cape Cod, the Hamptons and Jersey Shore on the east coast; and Lake Tahoe and Napa and Sonoma valleys out on the west coast.
The routes are similar to Supercharger fast charging stations Tesla has placed along highways in North America, Europe, and Asia. Owners of the Tesla Roadster, Model S, and Model X have been able to do free charging, but future owners of Model 3 will need to pay to use Superchargers.
ChargePoint’s press release doesn’t clarfiy whether the Express Charging Corridors Initiative stations will be free or will require payment. It does say that all stations are available publicly “and can be easily accessed with the ChargePoint mobile app or a ChargePoint card, or for BMW drivers, a ChargeNow card.”
The chargers won’t be limited to drivers of vehicles such as the BMW i3 and Volkswagen e-Golf that use SAE Combo fast chargers. Several of these charging stations also offer CHAdeMO connectors. Tesla cars can use these CHAdeMO ports with a plug adapter.
Another competitive edge that BMW and VW can emphasize is that some PEVs can be fully recharged in less than 30 minutes using these ChargePoint fast chargers. The Tesla Supercharger can charge up 80 percent of a a Model S equipped with a 90 kilowatt-her-hour battery pack in 40 minutes.
Tesla can always make the case that once charged, the Model S has more miles per charge than any other PEV on the road.