On the charge

BMW drives EVS hard

Popular Mechanics (South Africa) - - Contents -

It wasn’t co­in­ci­den­tal that we gath­ered one Novem­ber morn­ing at the of­fices of Avis Car Hire at Cape Town air­port to start our drive of BMW’S lat­est e-car, the 740e. Aside from the con­ve­nience of trav­el­ling against the rush hour flow, the par­tic­u­lar rel­e­vance is that Avis has bought into the whole al­ter­na­tive en­ergy thing. In a small way, but it’s a state­ment nonethe­less: four of BMW’S com­pact i3s will go into the rental com­pany’s point-to-point chauf­feur ser­vice and four of the i8 su­per­cars into its lux­ury divi­sion. Un­der­ly­ing this is Avis’s on­go­ing ini­tia­tive to lower emis­sions and in­tro­duce al­ter­na­tive en­ergy ve­hi­cles into its fleet.

The other news to come out of the day: BMW and Nis­san are ex­pand­ing their EV in­fra­struc­ture with the first joint charg­ing sta­tions in the Western Cape. The three sta­tions at Cape Town’s V&A Water­front join sim­i­lar fa­cil­i­ties al­ready in­stalled at BMW’S Midrand head­quar­ters, 27 of its deal­er­ships and at the Mel­rose Arch precinct in Jo­han­nes­burg. Pos­si­bly on­stream by now are charge points at Con­stan­tia Vil­lage Mall in Cape Town and Brook­lyn Mall in Pre­to­ria.

And they will be one size fits all, or at least the two main part­ners. The lat­est charg­ing sta­tions will of­fer Type 2 con­nec­tions that can be used by the BMW i3 and i8 as well as the Nis­san LEAF. BMW says th­ese sta­tions are fu­ture-proof and will be able to cater for fu­ture EV and PHEV mod­els.

It’s all about in­creas­ing pub­lic ac­cess to charg­ing, says the BMW Group’s CEO for South Africa and sub- Sa­ha­ran Africa, Tim Ab­bott. And that’s a crit­i­cal com­po­nent of fu­ture suc­cess for EVS here, he adds.

BMW’S fast-charg­ing fo­cus is on North Amer­ica, Europe, South Africa, China and Ja­pan and the com­pany has made sup­port­ing strate­gic in­vest­ments in the charg­ing busi­ness. In a to­tal of more than 30 projects and part­ner­ships glob­ally, more than 3 000 DC and more than 1 300 AC charg­ing points have been ini­ti­ated.

Hav­ing sold more than 100 000 purely elec­tric-pow­ered cars and plug-in hy­brids world­wide, BMW’S promi­nence in the EV busi­ness is un­ques­tioned. More than 60 000 of its i3 alone have been sold and it is the most suc­cess­ful elec­tric ve­hi­cle in the pre­mium com­pact seg­ment. Lo­cally, in a lit­tle un­der two years, i3 sales have reached 142 and those of the i8 have to­talled 181.

Driv­ing sales to the next level will de­pend, as Ab­bott says, on sup­port and con­ve­nience. To help per­suade those on the fence, BMW says it is able to sup­ply a range of so­lu­tions that help make charg­ing in­tel­li­gent and quick. The so­phis­ti­cated BMW i Wall­box charg­ing sta­tion, for in­stance, is cho­sen by one in three i3 buy­ers; and the lat­est ver­sion of the i3 with a more pow­er­ful bat­tery and in­creased range will de­rive even more ben­e­fit.

Be­sides the phys­i­cal con­ve­nience of hav­ing charg­ing where and when it’s needed, there’s also a need for a has­sle-free trans­ac­tions. So, ac­cess and pay­ment for charg­ing on the go at pub­lic sta­tions is fa­cil­i­tated by means of the Chargenow cus­tomer card and app, valid at more than 40 000 charg­ing points in 25 coun­tries. That’s the world’s largest net­work of pub­licly ac­ces­si­ble charg­ing points for elec­tric and plug-in-hy­brid ve­hi­cles. In ad­di­tion, BMW pro­vides as­sis­tance ser­vices de­signed specif­i­cally for elec­tro-mo­bil­ity. Its Con­nected­drive nav­i­ga­tion ser­vices not only in­clude the charg­ing sta­tus of the high-volt­age in route plan­ning, but also rec­om­mend the most ef­fi­cient route. Part­ner­ships in cer­tain coun­tries al­low cus­tomers to ben­e­fit from as­sis­tance in the use of elec­tric­ity gained from re­gen­er­a­tive sources they ei­ther ac­quire from en­ergy providers or pro­duce them­selves.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.