BMW, Nissan Join Forces To Build Multi-Standard DC Quick Charge Standard for Electric Cars in U.S.

Tesla Motors and its own proprietary worldwide network of Supercharger stations notwithstanding, Japanese automaker Nissan and German automaker BMW have done more than any other electric car manufacturer to support the installation of brand-agnostic DC quick charging stations around the world.

In recent years, Nissan has helped dramatically accelerate the installation of CHAdeMO-compatible DC quick charging stations around the world, working with charging network providers in North America, Asia and Europe to bring free rapid charging to new customers buying an all-electric LEAF hatchback or e-NV200 electric minivan. Similarly, BMW has heavily invested in the development and deployment of CCS-compatible DC quick charging stations, even helping to develop a special 25-kilowatt wall-mounted charging station for use in locations where a higher-power 50 kilowatt-unit would be impractical or impossible.

BMW and Nissan have done more to encourage make agnostic rapid charger deployment than any other automaker

BMW and Nissan have done more to encourage make agnostic rapid charger deployment than any other automaker

Together, both firms have made owning an electric car more practical and making longer-distance trips more plausible. Today, the two companies have announced that they will now continue that work together, deploying dual-standard DC quick charging stations that anyone with a CHAdeMO-compatible or CCS-compatible electric car can use.

The announcement, made via a joint press release this morning, will see BMW and Nissan electric vehicle customers across nineteen U.S. states– as well as anyone else who owns a CHAdeMO-compatible or CCS-compatible electric car — gain an extra 120 dual-port 50 kilowatt rapid charging stations that they can charge their car at while out and about. The charging stations, which Nissan’s press release says have already been installed, are located in publicly-available Greenlots-networked sites across California, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, Minnesota, Missouri, New Mexico, Nevada, New York, North Carolina, South Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, virginia and Wisconsin.

The new partnership has seen 120 new rapid charging stations come online in 19 states.

The new partnership has seen 120 new rapid charging stations come online in 19 states.

As with any other 50 kilowatt CHAdeMO or CCS charging station, the new dual-head stations are capable of recharging the battery pack of a Nissan LEAF or BMW i3 electric car from empty to 80 percent full in around 30 minutes. Connected to Tesla’s proprietary CHAdeMO to Supercharger adaptor, they can add approximately 85 miles of range to a Tesla Model S or Tesla Model X in the same kind of time frame.

“Nissan takes a three-pronged approach to growing public EV charging options for LEAF drivers by installing quick chargers in the community, at corporate workplaces and at Nissan dealerships,” said Andrew Speaker, Nissan’s director of Electric Vehicle Sales and Marketing. “By working with BMW to increase the number of available public quick-chargers, we are able to further enhance range confidence among EV drivers across the country.”

In a similar vein, BMW was equally as enthusiastic about its new partnership.

“BMW continues to pursue new ways to support the development of a robust public charging infrastructure that will benefit current and future BMW i3 owners across the country. This BMW-Nissan project builds on BMW’s ongoing commitment to participate in joint partnerships designed to expand DC Fast charging options nationwide for all EV drivers,” said Cliff Fietzek, Manager Connected eMobility, BMW of North America. “Together with Nissan, we are focused on facilitating longer distance travel so that even more drivers will choose to experience the convenience of e-mobility for themselves.”

Both Nissan and BMW owners will be able to find the charging stations on their respective car navigation systems and associated apps,  including the BMW ConnectedDrive and Nissan ConnectEV system as well as the BMW i Remote App, and Nissan EZ-Charge app. Naturally, charge cards given to customers by both BMW and Nissan will be compatible with these new dual-standard charging stations.

Of course, this isn’t the first time that either automaker has worked with other providers to bring electric vehicle recharging infrastructure to market. In Europe, Nissan has worked with other automakers to bring dual- and triple-headed charging stations to busy electric car routes. In the U.S., BMW has previously worked with Volkswagen to roll out a series of lower-powered 25 kilowatt CCS quick charging stations.

Anyone with an access card (and a compatible car) can use the new charging stations.

Anyone with an access card (and a compatible car) can use the new charging stations.

But what we’re particularly fond of about this news is the adaptor-agnostic approach now being demonstrated by automakers. Being a Japanese company, Nissan supports the CHAdeMO DC quick charge standard on its cars, despite CCS being the preferred standard in both Europe and North America. And while BMW does indeed produce a CHAdeMO-compliant i3 variant for the Japanese market, it uses CCS charge standards in Europe and the U.S.

For a while, those two charging standards have been fighting it out for dominance, with the more popular CHAdeMO leading CCS by a large margin in terms of market penetration. By working together and funding the installation of dual-standard units however, Nissan and BMW are essentially acknowledging that the connector isn’t the important thing: decent, reliable, accessible refuelling infrastructure is.

If your vision of the future is one in which electric cars outnumber internal combustion engined vehicles, this news should make you very happy indeed.

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