Recently, I was watching a Top Gear UK episode that focussed on battery electric vehicles and was a bit perplexed. The hosts, Jeremy and James, took off in two EVs (specifics not needed) without considering the limits of the infrastructure or the simple fact that their destination was way further than the range. They just thought they ‘d find a place to “fill up ” on electrons somewhere along the way. Range anxiety or not- most people considering an EV know that charging takes time and that they are currently impractical for long trips without a ReX (range extender) like the Chevy Volt.
That is not to say the cars are not practical- they are for distances within range and along routes with charging options but there are some inherent differences from traditional vehicles. Unlike most EV companies BMWi is looking at the whole picture of EV ownership and not just at the car and home charging, they understand these issues and are working on real functional solutions.
BMWi is establishing a growing portfolio of “360° ELECTRIC ” products and services to ensure convenient electromobility in almost every situation. What that means is that with BMWi there are alternatives to just driving say the i3 from home to the office and back. They are working on providing public charging stations in the community, road side charging in case of an accidental discharge in addition to an intelligent navigation system with real time updates to find the most efficient route to your destination or the nearest available charging station.
If you want to take a family road trip that is out of the range of the i3 and rather not have to stop for a few hours at a time to charge BMWi has established a partnership with one the world ‘s leading rental agencies (SIXT with others possible) to provide alternative transportation for short periods of time. This concept just makes sense- if the EV will be impractical for a short time and a fuel efficient combustion (or hybrid) vehicle is available to borrow it would ease buyer anxiety towards the concern of “what if we need to go far away “. There are many perspective buyers that may not have considered an EV but will welcome these services and may just sway more of them towards a BMWi product.
BMWi is still a year away from coming to the market but they are blazing new paths for the future of mobility, what they will think up and offer next is anyone ‘s guess but we are enjoying where they are going.