BMW and Volkswagen have a gift for electric vehicle owners: New “electric car corridors” will provide regularly-placed chargers for cars along heavily traveled highways connecting the Northeastern Corridor, the Bay Area, southern California, and other urban areas. The new chargers, offered in collaboration with charging network ChargePoint, are one of the most ambitious attempts to date to seed electric car chargers along America’s highway system.
ChargePoint currently offers more than 20,000 charging spots for electric vehicles in North America. The new announcement would add an undisclosed number of chargers for the BMW i3, Volkwagen e-Golf, and other electric cars along I-95 on the East Coast, and highways connecting Portland, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and San Diego. Chargers will be spaced at a maximum of 50 miles apart, and the first phase of the project will consist of planting approximately 100 DC fast-charging ports at rest stops, restaurants, and shopping centers along major highways.
“Our goal at ChargePoint is to get everyone behind the wheel of an EV and provide EV charging everywhere they go,” said ChargePoint CEO Pasquale Romano in a statement. “With strategically-placed stations where drivers need them, these express charging corridors will give EV drivers the freedom to go farther and have an EV as their only car without limitation.”
The new chargers, which are being provided by BMW and Volkswagen but which can be used with some cars by other manufacturers, aim to combat a big problem in electric car adoption: Electric cars have relatively short ranges, and it can be extremely difficult to charge them on longer trips. Outside of China (which has turned on to electric cars in a big way), the biggest market for them has been in smaller countries such as the Netherlands and Norway, which have aggressively built charging infrastructures.