Some day electric vehicle (EV) charging stations will be as plentiful as gas stations are today — but not yet. So it’s still a big deal when ChargePoint, BMW, and VW announce networks of DC fast-charging stations up and down the United States’ east and west coasts, as reported by Ars Technica.
ChargePoint has partnerships with other car makers, but in early 2015 the charging station installer announced it was teaming up with BMW and Volkswagen. The commitment was to establish express charging locations along the most traveled routes on the east and west coasts.
You can’t travel the entire coastline in either case. On the east coast the fast charging stations follow along I-95 from Boston, Massachusetts to Washington, D.C. The west coast corridor extends from Portland, Oregon, to San Diego. The plan was to have stations no farther than 50 miles apart.
The significance of fast-charging stations factors in charging time. For example, with 50Wh DC fast chargers, cars like the BMW i3 and VW E-Golf can be charged to 80 percent capacity in 20 minutes. At “standard” level 2 chargers — in quotes because they’re not all that common — for cars that don’t have DC charging capability, an hour’s charge provides about 25 miles of range. If you want to travel very far, there’s no love in having to spend four hours charging time for every 100 miles — no matter how fast you drive.
The ChargePoint east and west coast fast-charging station corridors consist of a total of 95 stations. According to the latest figures on ChargePoint’s website, there are now 371 express charging spots out of 30,594 total spots in North America. The company also states it has delivered more than 18 million charges and that there are currently 505,527 EVs on the road in the U.S. and Canada.
ChargePoint CEO Pat Romano is focused on building out the charging station infrastructure. “Our mission is to get everyone into an EV, and as the number of EVs on the road increases, we’re building features that ensure charging and driving an EV is a seamless experience,” Romano said.