BID TO EASE BATTERY CAR RANGE FEARS: Mike Whitfield (MD Nissan SA) and Tim Abbott (MD BMW SA) make an electrical connection for their battery and hybrid vehicles. Image: Supplied
ROSSLYN, Pretoria - Two of South Africa’s vehicle manufacturers have joined forces to advance electric vehicle (EV) and plug-in hybrid vehicle (PHEV) adoption with a wider network of vehicle charging stations.
BMW SA and Nissan SA have signed a memorandum of agreement that will see them jointly plan and build a national grid of EV and PHEV vehicle charging stations for use by both brands.
Mike Whitfield, MD of Nissan SA, explained: “Our introduction of the 100% electric Nissan Leaf in 2013 was part of Nissan’s global drive to advance sustainable mobility and to grow the market for zero-emissions vehicles.
“With this in mind we believe our partnership with BMW SA is a sound investment to create a future-proof automobile industry.”
Tim Abbott, MD of BMW SA, says industry-wide co-operation is the key to the future success of electric vehicles. “We have successfully launched the BMW i3 and i8. A key imperative of our strategy is to ensure that the necessary infrastructure is rolled out to help increase consumer confidence in the viability of electric vehicles.
“We believe that for the introduction and expansion of electric vehicles as well as plug-in hybrids to succeed, we need to work together. Our partnership with Nissan is the first step towards that.”
The agreement will see BMW and Nissan roll out direct current fast-charging stations equipped with to service both Nissan and BMW vehicles.
JOINT TASK TEAM
This national grid of charging stations will also have smaller alternating current (AC) type vehicle chargers in certain regions. It terms of the agreement these chargers will have Type 2 sockets that allow all EVs and PHEVs to connect.
The network will be managed by a joint task team of executives from both manufacturers.
Vehicle market specialist Mike Schüssler explained: “By sharing expertise, ideas and challenges BMW and Nissan will accelerate the growth and consumer acceptance of the EV and PHEV market to the benefit of the entire automotive industry.
“These organisations have shown the same insight in establishing a vehicle charging grid as they did in creating their futuristic electric vehicles.”
The agreement between BMW and Nissan is effective immediately and will be in effect until 2017.