2014 BMW i3 (German-market version), Amsterdam, Oct 2013Enlarge Photo
At the Los Angeles Auto Show next week, BMW will unveil 360 Electric, a group of services that it hopes will make electric-car ownership easier for more people.
That means, first and foremost, giving electric-car drivers a place to charge. The BMW i charging station is a wall-mounted 240-volt Level 2 unit that can be installed in owners' homes by Bosch Automotive Services. BMW says it can fully charge an i3 in 3 hours, and an i8 in 1.5 hours.
A "Bosch Vehicle Charging Advisor" will walk owners through the process of getting their charging stations installed; the cost of the station itself will be rolled into the car's financing. BMW owners are also eligible for a 10-percent discount on SolarCity home solar energy systems.
BMW will also provide owners with ChargeNow cards, which will allow them to plug in at stations administered by the ChargePoint electric-car charging network. That includes 14,000 stations nationwide, BMW says. A ParkNow program will also grant access to parking spaces with electric-car charging stations for owners who can't charge their cars at home or at work.
Still, the i3 only has a maximum range of around 80 miles. So for longer trips, BMW will provide access to alternative vehicles through the aptly-named Alternative Mobility Program.
Plug-in cars aren't turning BMW into a concierge service, though. The company's ConnectedDrive tech will allow drivers to maximize their own experience. ConnectedDrive includes built-in systems--as well as iOS and Android apps--that allows drivers to find charging stations and monitor charging status. Driving Range Assistant also provides live range estimates, and ECO Route helps plan more efficient routes.
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