BMW Launches New Low Cost DC Fast Chargers From $6,458


Today from Plug-In 2014 in San Jose, BMW announced a new DC fast charging unit that can top up an all-electric i3 to 80% in about 30 minutes.

BMW i DC Wall Box, About A Fifth The Price Of A Traditional Fast Charger

BMW i DC Wall Box, About A Fifth The Price Of A Traditional Fast Charger

Why is that significant?

Well, acquiring and setting up a conventional DC fast charger is a very daunting proposition.   They are traditionally very large units (BMW likens them to refrigerators), very expensive (costs upwards of “tens of thousands”), are difficult logistically to get installed, but also draw a lot of extra power that most EVs really don’t need and/or can handle.

The  BMW i DC Fast Charger developed with Bosch Automotive Service Solutions is nothing like that.

The cost is just $6,458, it puts out 24 kW of power, the unit measures just 31″H x 19″ wide and 12″ deep.

“This is a milestone in the development of the DC fast charging infrastructure. With more than five years of real world experience, we understand that a robust network of publicly available DC Combo Fast Chargers is a key part of the mobility of tomorrow.  

BMW is offering the BMW i DC Fast Charger at an appealing price point, and more manageable size, to make the convenience of DC fast charging more accessible for BMW i3 owners.” –  .

It should be noted that as BMW is a CCS (Combo) partner, this unit uses a SAE Combo 1 Inlet.  This new unit should go a long way in aided the newer standard make a dent in the CHAdeMO dominated landscape.  GM, Ford, Chrysler, Daimler, Volkswagen, Audi and Porsche have also signed on to the new standard.

BMW says the unit will function normally in a wide range of weather temperatures, from -40°F to 185°F.  Expect to see the first units show up next month at BMW’s “i Dealers” – which make up about 85% of the 34o dealers in the US

The BMW i DC Fast Charger is already ChargePoint network-enabled, which means you can use their ChargePoint or ChargeNow Card.

"Fill 'Er Up" (from Plug-In 2014 In San Jose)

“Fill ‘Er Up” (from Plug-In 2014 In San Jose)

Separately,  BMW announced that when using the new ChargeNow cards, BMW i3 drivers will also get 30 minutes of free charging as part of the “ChargeNow DC Fast Program” at  participating eVgo Freedom Station sites equipped with DC Combo Fast Charging in California through 2015.

Ye Olde Specs On The BMW I DC Fast Charger

Ye Olde Specs On The BMW I DC Fast Charger (click to enlarge)

eVgo has aid that they will deploy a minimum of 100 BMW i3 compatible DC Fast Chargers across California to support the ChargeNow DC Fast Program (and possibly their legal obligations to the State)

“We’re confident the rapidly-expanding NRG eVgo DC Fast Charging network will provide significant benefits to BMW i3 drivers in California. With the cooperation between ChargePoint and NRG eVgo, ChargeNow DC Fast brings us closer to the reality of one card, one account public charging network interoperability,” continued Mr. Healey.

The first BMW i DC Fast Charger is display at Plug-In 2014 happening now at the San Jose Convention Center.   And because we just happen to be at the event, we have some shots we took of the unit in action…as well as Mr. Healey operating them.


Category: BMW, Charging


76 responses to "BMW Launches New Low Cost DC Fast Chargers From $6,458"
  1. What an awesome twist of luck for NRG !!! They are required to install 200 CCS-Combo1 stations within four years per their agreement with the state of California, and here they are, subsidized by BMW !!!

    I suspect that these 100 amp / 240-250 volt single phase chargers will actually be 208 volt powered in the wild (the normal voltage at commercial sites), but I wonder… did they think ahead like Tesla is so good at and make these compatible with the 277 volt three phase that is already at the NRG sites powering the existing CHAdeMO stations?

    Great price, though !!! Bad news, the defacto CCS station at NRG will likely be 20-25kW, while the CHAdeMO stations are 50kW.

    1. Jay Cole says:

      I knew I was missing something! I just uploaded the spec sheet Tony … what kind of plug-in site would we be if we didn’t do that? lol

      1. Thanks for the spec sheet. Yes, they did make these compatible with existing power supplied to NRG eVgo sites with 277 volt per phase / 480 volt three phase power!!!

        The bad news, not many BMW dealer are likely to have this service, which means BIG bucks installing it. But, for those with 480 volt service, the relatively low power charger will be easy install.

        1. mutle says:

          This is great news for Europe though. 480V, 3-phase is the normal high power connection available here. They have not yet announced a Combo-2 version of this device, but it seems likely that it will also work since this uses 3-phase AC.

          1. Well, “normal” is 220v/380v or 230v/400v in Europe.

            It’s 277/480 in the USA.

    2. Taser54 says:

      I disagree. I think that there is a two tier strategy for EVgo. The 24kw CCS stations will be installed more inside the cities (at Walgreens etc) and the 50kw+ CCS systems will be installed along highways.

      It’s actually pretty smart.

    3. JakeY says:

      Actually I don’t think so. If you read carefully there’s really two announcements in one.

      First these chargers which are compatible with ChargePoint, however, they are not part of the NRG evGO network.

      The second is BMW is offering free charging at evGO stations using the ChargeNow Card (which supports both evGO and ChargePoint networks).

      So NRG will still be required to install 200 evGO stations, and can’t just freeload off BMW’s chargers (which likely will be installed at dealers, like Nissan’s).

    4. scottf200 says:

      A LEAF doesn’t use 50 kW charging as far as I know and it only uses above 25 kW for a short period.

      1. io says:

        From what SoC?
        Below maybe 50%, yes the Leaf can and will take a steady 120A (at 380-ish V).

        1. Yes, a LEAF will take 120 amps @ 395 volts DC (47.4kW) until about 50% SOC.

      2. Suprise Cat says:

        That’s a 3 years old graph.

  2. MTN Ranger says:

    My local BMW dealer recently installed 2 public L2 charging stations. It will be nice if they put in a CCS station too.

  3. Mike I says:

    I’m surprised Tony didn’t point this out, but 24kW is not enough to charge an i3 from 0-80% in 30 minutes. My back of the envelope calcs say that 20%-80% is about 33 minutes, with 0-50% at 2C and 50%-80% averaging 1C. That’s actually pretty aggressive, but I’m trying to get close to their number.

    1. Are you using the total pack capacity (21.6kW) or the usable amount of 18.8kW?

      1. Mike I says:

        I calculated using 18.8kWh.
        20-50% @ 24kW: 18.8(30%)/24 = 14.1 minutes
        50-80% @18.8kW: 18.8(30%)/18.8 = 18 minutes
        Total: 32.1 minutes

        1. It appears you left out an efficiency factor. Transferring from DC charger to battery is not 100% efficient.

          1. Mike I says:

            You’re right. The INPUT power is 24kW. What is the typical efficiency of these things? Is it similar to on-board chargers at 85% – 90%?

            1. Mike I says:

              Just looked it up. ABB claims 95% efficiency on both their 20kW and 50kW DCFC UL units. Given the lack of information about the specific taper on the i3, 5% loss is not material to the calculation. I still maintain that there is no way a DCFC drawing 24kW from the grid can charge an i3 from 0% to 80% in 30 minutes.

              1. io says:

                I think Tony Williams was talking about how batteries don’t absorb 100% of the energy shoved in them. Some goes to heat, especially while quick-charging.

                This in addition to the somewhat misleading spec BMW pushes forward, rating, unlike everyone else, the QC INPUT, as you mentioned.

                I agree with your conclusion that this QC can’t fulfill BMW’s “30 minutes” claim.

        2. Brian says:

          1C rate is based of the total capacity, not usable. So:

          20-50% @ 24kW: 18.8(30%)/24 = 14.1 minutes
          50-80% @ 21.6kW: 18.8(30%)/18.8 = 15.7 minutes
          Total: 29.8 minutes

          1. Lou says:

            So I can get 50% back in 14 minutes? That’s awesome!! Now get them installed where I work and shop 🙂

  4. Mike I says:

    The NRG Freedom Station in Mountain View, CA is now online with one Nissan CHAdeMO, one ABB Terra 53C Combo1 charger, and one Coulomb L2 pedestal. This is much more expensive than the BMW unit, but it is 50kW. Also, practically across the street from BMW of Mountain View.

    I just checked the ABB web site and it says the 53C is not distributed for sale in USA, only the Terra 23’s show up. Strange. I took a picture of the nameplate, so I’m sure that it’s a 53C that’s installed in Mountain View.

    1. Heather says:

      Hi Mike – you likely googled into the EU (CE) product page, the UL version is available for the US/Americas as on this page –

      1. Mike I says:

        I initially clicked someone else’s link and got the message that it was not available in my region. Then I went about navigating the site from the home page and only saw one of the fast charger product categories. My mistake.

  5. Taser54 says:

    I think the strategy to flood the market, even with these 24KW CCS chargers is a good one. BMW has markedly cut the cost of CCS and even though it is relatively slow, the sheer number of them that will be installed is much better for consumers than the single outposts of 50kw CCS.

    This 24KW system essentially eliminates L2 charging and is perfect for the cities.

    The higher output CCS will also gain traction, but they will be installed more on major hwys.

    1. You do realize that their are already CHAdeMO chargers as small as 20kW?

      1. Taser54 says:

        Does that mean you are worried that evgo will install those in Cali?

      2. mike w says:

        For the LEAF it will NOT make much difference in the recharge time since most of the time the battery is drawing less than 24 KW anyways. It might add a few minutes to the recharge time but not that much different than a 50 KW charger. May make a big difference when Nissan starts putting bigger batteries in their cars or if you are charging a Tesla.

        1. io says:

          Whut? How do you think a Leaf can take ~17kW*h (0 to 80%) in 30 minutes then?

          Try QCing when the battery is not already above 60% SoC, you’ll see.

    2. Taser54 says:

      I did quick price check it appears that a Fuji 25kw Chademo runs $25k. If true, it makes what BMW introduced amazing for $7k. It suggests that it will be much easier for low power CCS to expand than low power Chademo. Here’s hoping that Chademo follows suit with low cost, high availability chargers.

      1. Spec9 says:

        Doesn’t Nissan have a pretty cheap chademo charger though? I believe it is less than $10K but is much faster than this 24KW charger.

        1. JakeY says:

          If you are talking about the $9900 “Basic” version that was announced back in 2011, that never came into existence. To this day, the cheapest Nissan DC charger you can buy is the $15500 “Advanced” version:

          1. Spec9 says:

            Wow. Then this could really help CCS install infrastructure pretty quick.

            Granted, it is only 24KW. That is not great if you are trying to make some long trip. But if you find yourself a few miles or just need a few more miles to complete your desired trip, these ‘medium-speed’ chargers can be very useful.

            They need to charge by the minute though so people are not tempted to use them like L2 chargers where they often sit there for many hours.

      2. JakeY says:

        The next cheapest is the 20kW ABB Terra SC which is €9988 (about $13-14k). So this is pretty inexpensive and I would say a pretty big deal.

    3. Steve says:

      Agree, I think these DC wallbox products will eliminate the need for AC Level II charging alltogether.
      It is a 1-on-1 replacement of a 20 kW onboard charger. The benefit of putting the charger outside the car is that it will save 20-40 pounds and a significant volume inside the car.
      Plus the most important thing: it will shave 1500-2500 USD of the sales price of the EV. This is very important in the next step to make affordable EV’s with long range.

      Once you have a 20 kW DC wallbox at your home you can charge multiple cars with it, so basically the cost of the charger will be shared by 2 cars.

      I think we are witnessing here the beginning of the end for level II on EV’s

      1. Now there is something I’ve been advocating!!! At home, your charger would also reverse power the house and the grid in peak demand, and on the road, there would be chargers everywhere.

        No onboard chargers on the cheapest cars.

        1. Mike I says:

          No onboard charger is a bit extreme. However, it makes the 3.3kW OBC more practical if home DC charging is affordable.

          1. Oh, we are a generation or two away from the day when a charger free car can be offered.

            But, it makes no sense to carry it and pay for it when it should be hanging on your wall or are the public charge station (or battery swapping place).

            It makes the most sense for multi-unit dwellers that want electric but have no place to plug in at home. Why have any charger when your going to go to the uber plentiful DC charge station anyway?

  6. 24 kW? Sure, fast for a i3, Tesla already does 20kW off a standard $1,200 station utilizing it’s Dual Chargers. So, my standard charging with my Dual Chargers, is “like” supercharging a BMW….. Sad 🙁 Do bad these other manufacturers just dont get it. If these stations were, say, 40kW, now we are talking. Thats finally twice the charge speed of a Dual Charger Model S. Yes, I know the Combo charger is not compatible.

    1. Just_chris says:

      Makes you wonder why someone hasn’t done a Tesla to CHAdeMO converter. Is the 20kW Tesla dual charger ac or dc?

      1. mutle says:

        It’s AC and requires a second charger ($3600 option) in the car.

    2. mutle says:

      Dual charger is a $3600 option. That plus the $1200 station gets you pretty close to what BMW is charging.

      1. mutle says:

        I misread Tesla’s price list here. It’s $1500 with a new car or $3600 to add this feature to a car with single chargers.

    3. Ugh says:

      Here we go again.. another ignorant Tesla fanatic comment. There’s nothing magical about the Tesla buddy. No other manufacturers need such a high power charger because they only have 1/4 the amount of battery. Why add the expense if it’s not needed? The premium for EVs already adds to the “anti EV” thought. THere doesn’t need to be another reason. Besides, even with your super duper magical unicorn producing Tesla charger, it still takes you the same amount of time to get a full charge as all other EVs. Sure you get more range, but how often do you actually use more than 30 mi per charge?

    4. Ugh says:

      … also, the i3 is capable of 50 kW DC charging. These 24 kW stations are meant to be inexpensive solutions to get DCQC rolled out quickly and overcome many of the barriers associated with installing a DCQC station. It’s not BMW’s fault your Tesla is the most inefficient EV out there and can’t charge to 80% on only 24 kW stations in 30 minutes.

  7. David Murray says:

    So… by my calculations, these units charge at a rate of about 72 miles per hour. Which is certainly plenty for inner-city destinations. Heck, regular L2 charging with 6.6kW is plenty as far as I’m concerned. I’m curious how the price of these units scale with the wattage. For example, how much less would it cost to build and install a 12kW CCS (or Chademo) station? Those could charge at a rate of about 35 miles per hour. If they were half the cost, and presumably need small guage wiring, those might even be preferable for some locations.. Who knows.

    1. Tech01x says:

      We already have J1772 standard that goes up to 20 kW. Why would people install incompatible DC chargers in the same energy delivery rate range?

      If they had chosen not to use J1772, then ok. But why cripple our L2 charging infrastructure? If they are intending on delivering ~20kW charging, use 80A J1772.

      1. liberty says:

        pretty simple. its expensive to put 20kw of ac L2 into a car. Tesla charges $1500 to go from 10kw to 20kw. most cars only have 6.6kw, and don’t need more in the garage. L3 puts the expensive hardware in the charger where it can last many years more than the car, and service many cars.

        1. pjwood says:

          ?? What Tesla charges, and what it costs, are miles apart. This referencing “$1,500” doesn’t say a thing. Not sure cost gets past a few hundred.

          1. mustang_sallad says:

            If putting 20kW of onboard charging capability were as easy as you suggest, why isn’t everybody doing it? Do you think it’s because it just hasn’t occurred to these automakers and you’re thinking ahead of them?? The whole point of DC fast charging is that, for the most part, vehicles only need to charge overnight. Fast charging is a once in a while thing, so you can leave the heavy and expensive power electronics off of the vehicle and share it across many vehicles.

            The Model S obviously has a much bigger battery than the ~25kWh EVs that otherwise dominate the market, and it’s also a much bigger and more expensive car that’s better able to absorb the cost of faster onboard chargers.

      2. Mike I says:

        BMW and many other carmakers chose to limit the AC charging to about 30 amps. Of course the J1772 standard can do more. However, given the limitations of the cars, a DC charger sized for common high power circuits would be useful. Let’s say 240VAC 60A. That’s 14.4kW, which is fully double the power of the on-board AC charger. I think if it was available for $2,000 people would buy it and install it at home. In fact, I just checked and eMotorWerks has a 12kW DC charger for $2,000, but it’s not packaged for this kind of usage. Maybe I should suggest that to them.

  8. Loboc says:

    DC fast charging doesn’t interest me. I drive at most 2 hours a day. Usually much less. This leaves 22 hours to charge my car. More than enough time.

    1. Spec9 says:

      But without a DC fast-charge, you can’t drive the typical sub 100 mile range EV for 2 hours easily.

  9. Ocean Railroader says:

    I hope this is true and I hope there is a machine that would allow me to plug in a Chamo into a CSS charger and change over the current format for it to fast charge.

    In that if these chargers are really 30% the cost of the existing fuji units that means these things could reproduce fast like jack rabbits. Also if these things are very cheap and BMW has several hundred dealerships these things could really open up the door for the other CSS cars to take off in sales.

    Maybe if this happens and the CSS start reproducing someone will invent a universal charger plug in for a Mitsubishi i-miev. Or the rise of them will get Nissan and the Chamo people to get up off of their fury butts and start adding a cheap lost cost Chamo station too.

    In that one of things I have seen on plug share is the number of new quick chargers showing up on the map has really slowed down to where you only get one or two new ones to pop on the map once ever 30 days. While at the same time these chargers are in the same old hot spots getting more and more dense in the same old EV hot spots.

  10. ggpa says:

    Competition is a wonderful thing. First it drove down L2 EVSEs, and now also for L3.

    If CCS DC chargers drop to $6500, then Chademo will follow suit. Good news for all EV drivers!!

    1. phd says:

      There are 20kw Chademo DC wallboxes similar to the CCS one for about the same price, I believe from ABB.

      That being said, I am not sure about the BMW strategy to install slower fast chargers (20kw vs 50kw)as the battery sizes is only going to increase going forward.

      1. ggpa says:

        Thanks, I was unaware that ABB has a Chademo at such a reasonable price.

        This again proves that Chargepoint is gouging/exploiting their customers with $7000 L2 units.

  11. NZDavid says:

    Two points:
    First, the price is $6,548.00, and;
    Second, this offer, according to the small print, is only available to BMW Centers and authorized partners.

    So my question is, how much is the subsidy?

    1. pjwood says:

      It would have to be a lot, if you couldn’t pay said partners to more aggressively sell EVs.

  12. zoe-driver says:

    Now everybody can see how bad this DC loading is really.

    In the price for my Renault ZOE such a fast charging station for charging at home is included 🙂 It is called 3-phase Wallbox AC-22kw and ist much much smaller.

    BMW and VW and Nissan save money not including integrated chargers in their cars and let the public pay a extreme price for bulky public charging stations. An AC Station costs 1/10th the price.
    And at home, just a few can use it in 1-phase countries like USA because these DC chargers require 3-phase connection.

    Tesla and Renault and Mercedes B-Class are shipping their cars with included AC Chargers, so that a fastand compact charging station is cheap.

    Renault shipping a 43kw AC charger included in the base price of the car, beeing able to use at home or in public the extreme cheap 43kw fast charging Stations or wallboxes is leading the complete automotive sector here.

    In Germany we have 100x more public AC fast chargers than DC.

    The real price for an BMW i3 compared to the same charging to a Renault ZOE is adding this cost to the car. Renault ships all ZOEs with a 1100€ value for a wallbox you can choose yourself.

    1. mutle says:

      Is it part of the battery rental contract you have with Renault that you have to go and post something negative on every single BMW-related thread here?

      Also, there are a lot less 43kW public AC chargers than DC (Chademo as well as Combo).

      1. zoe-driver says:

        Hi mutle,

        it is not negative, it is fact. And in a country with freedom of speech, it is allowed to post facts 🙂

    2. Raoul says:

      There are several problems with the Renault strategy:
      1 – the cameleon charger is not reliable and trips regularly the charge points it connects to thanks to it high voltage inrush current (and also why it doesn’t charge well on domestic sockets and has low efficiency at low power).

      2 – they are the only one adopting 43 KVA AC charging while all other OEMs whether Chademo or CCS have adopted DC…. it therefore seems unlikely that this standard will prevail.

      3 – as EVs number will increase, it makes more sense to share the cost of the chargers amongst more vehicles by having the charger off board, vs having the power convertion technology onboard each vehicle.

      4 – Nissan is now is charger or Renault R&D and they will want to standardize the developments. As Nissan sells cars worldwide vs Renault only in Europe, it is very likely that Nissan technology will prevail.

      Don’t wrong, ZOE is a great car, if only it would have shared the LEAF’s technology, it would have been a smash hit.


  13. zoe-driver says:

    The price is btw. only for BMW partners and without VAT. And Input 24kw does not mean output 24kw. No losses ? Who believes that ? Guarantee ? 1 year ?

    1. Light and cheap rectifying high power AC to DC usually doesn’t translate to long dependability.

    2. Spec9 says:

      Clearly there will be some losses. But these converters are generally 95+% efficient.

  14. DNAinaGoodWay says:

    The charge port area on a LEAF or eNV200 can fit both CHAdeMO and CSS. Would give Nissan an advantage if they could use either station.

    1. Aaron says:

      That’s an interesting idea. I wonder if it could be done…

    2. There’s no reason it can’t be done, but why? Most public CCS charge stations existing (all 225 of them) are built right next to a CHAdeMO station. The ones that wouldn’t have CHAdeMO will likely be at. BMW, GM or VW car dealership, so I don’t think they’re going to all let you charge your Nissan there !!!!

      With about 4000 CHAdeMO stations worldwide, and almost 150,000 CHAdeMO compatible cars in the world (and over 50,000 in the USA), the more logical question is why doesn’t the CCS consortium offer a CHAdeMO option?

      They do and will offer cars with CHAdeMO in Japan (BMW does right now, and VW said they would).

      1. mustang_sallad says:

        The answer to that is the same reason these folks switched to CCS in the first place. Chademo has a huge footprint and a huge parts count. An adaptor is one idea, but finding room for a Chademo port on the car just because about 0.0001% of the world fleet has that port would be crazy. We are in very early days, Chademo got about a 3 year headstart, but I’m personally guessing that EVs will be around for the next few decades.

        1. Raoul says:

          These reasons were just a front… the real reasons why CCS came to fruition was a ploy to to delay the adoption of EVs by OEMs which did not have cars onto the market.

          When you consider that the same OEMS sell cars with Chademo in Japan it gets to show you that CCS doens’t add anything from customer standpoint.
          It was a commercial warfare tool… that is all..


          1. mustang_sallad says:

            Did you seriously just use the fact that BMW went with Chademo in Japan as an example of why there’s no point to CCS? Did you realize they stuck the AC charge port under the hood to make that work?

      2. Taser54 says:

        Isn’t that because of Japan’s government preventing other standards from being installed? So BMW et. al have to capitulate? Why hasn’t Tesla installed superchargers in Japan? I’d wager it stems from the sheer inability to get governmental approval. Why else would Musk tolerate a sub-Tesla standard?

        1. Tesla will install Superchargers in Japan, and offer the CHAdeMO adaptor.

          CHAdeMO isn’t just in Japan, folks. It’s the only standard that is exactly the same in Tokyo, Chicago and Oslo.

  15. Bill Howland says:

    I could see these things for residential use – probably by surgeons and lawyers who could afford the $6500 and another $4000 installation to derive 480 – 3ph from a 240 – 400 amp single phase service.

    As far as commercial installations in places like Southern California Edison, I really don’t see too many businesses wanting to pay the $480 demand charge per month fine, as well as the high summer day time electricity charge.

    Some businesses may deem the high cost worth it strictly for the advertising value of being “GREEN”, but i’d wager its also dependent on the local popularity of the I3 itself.

  16. Ajay says:

    Anybody know when these DC fast chargers will begin to be available at BMW dealerships on the East coast?