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BMW Launching 360 Electric-Driving Assistance At LA Auto Show

 

2014 BMW i3 (German-market version), Amsterdam, Oct 2013

2014 BMW i3 (German-market version), Amsterdam, Oct 2013

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With the 2014 BMW i3 electric city car and 2015 i8 plug-in hybrid sports car finally out in the open, the company is focusing on keeping drivers of those cars on the road.

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.

For more Los Angeles Auto Show coverage, head over to our dedicated hub.

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