BMW: “The charging infrastructure is the bottleneck”


BMW has been dealing with charging electric vehicles and the necessary charging infrastructure for more than a decade. According to its own statement, the company is pursuing a holistic approach that covers the entire value chain and combines three main directions. Charging should become even more convenient than refueling – available nationwide, user-friendly and with high cost transparency. The path to success towards e-mobility leads past the charging station – the corresponding infrastructure is therefore a top priority at the BMW Group.

In an interview published by BMW itself and reproduced in an abbreviated form by us, the three board members Ilka Horstmeier (responsible for human resources and social affairs, labor director), Pieter Nota (responsible for customers, brands, sales) and Dr. Nicolas Peter (responsible for finance), as the BMW Group does the topic of loading, which advantages and potentials loaded and what role load should play during the further startup of electromobility.

The BMW Group recently transferred its a millionth electrified vehicle into customer hand. One aspect that is inextricably connected to the startup of electromobility is the charging infrastructure. What is your assessment?

Peter: The loading infrastructure does not last step with the sales of electrified vehicles at the moment. Therefore, a fast infrastructure expansion is urgently needed, especially in urban, densely populated areas and for the long-distance. Here, politics is also required: Economic operation must be given in the expansion phase of the infrastructure and possibly promoted. Who builds a second charging station if the first cannot be operated to cover costs? In the long term, however, the market must be able to regulate itself in the interests of the customer. What we need for this are clear objectives and incentive systems. This also applies to fleet and vehicle fleet operators, whose switch to electromobility should be supported.

Is it done with the rapid development of the infrastructure?? Or are there other hurdles?

Horstmeier: The focus on quick assembly falls short in some places. Of course, we need many public charging points in the near future to cover the increasing demand. But above all, the customer needs easy access to as many charging points as possible – nationwide at attractive conditions.

One aspect that is often viewed critically when charging is the longer duration compared to refueling. How do you judge that?

Peter: Charging already has a great convenience advantage today – namely when our customers can charge at home. I can confirm that from my own experience. I have been driving a BMW i3 for years, which I connect to my wall box at home. Every morning I get into a loaded vehicle.

Are there any other options apart from public charging and home charging?

Horstmeier: At work. The vehicle is parked there during the day anyway. Here, too, there is a major convenience advantage compared to filling up: which employer has its own filling station for employees?

How would you briefly describe your approach to charging?? And how important is the topic in your company as a whole?

Horstmeier: Charging is an interdisciplinary topic that attracts a lot of attention and has reached the heart of the company. You can see that from the fact that the Management Board is actively involved as a team. At the BMW Group, we take a holistic view of electromobility – with vehicles, products and services that make charging easy and convenient. Our involvement in charging therefore extends across the entire value chain: from products and services to the strategic investments mentioned to the development of our own operational charging infrastructure. I drive a BMW i3 and a BMW iX myself and use all charging options: at home, at work and in public. Shops already have so many strengths and possibilities today. Further digitization and automation offer huge potential for the future.

Will you set up your own, exclusive public charging network for your customers in the future?? Other manufacturers have already presented their plans for this.

Peter: We rely on open networks. This is the most effective way to support the ramp-up and availability of the infrastructure for our customers. At the same time, the high capacity utilization that is essential for the profitability of the networks can be achieved. With our participation in IONITY, we are intensively involved in the development of a public charging network.

What can we expect from the BMW Group in 2022 when it comes to charging??

note: We have set ourselves ambitious goals for electromobility next year: We want to more than double sales of our purely electric vehicles compared to this year. When it comes to charging, the focus will therefore be on two further directions in 2022 in order to make charging even more attractive. On the one hand, we will integrate the charging scope even more deeply into our myBMW and MINI app. This means that our customers have everything that is relevant to their vehicle in one app – including access to public charging points. On the other hand, we will continue to promote connectivity when charging and thus further simplify the charging process.

Horstmeier: We will make charging even easier and more convenient in 2022. We plan to further expand the already very high coverage of more than 90 percent in Europe, even with an increasing number of public charging points. We are also examining how we can focus even more on sustainability when it comes to public charging, for example through voluntary CO2 compensation or the further integration of green electricity offers. We are also staying on the ball with bidirectional charging, as we see great potential here, especially with regard to the contribution of electric vehicles to security of supply and thus to the energy transition.

Peter: E-mobility should become even more suitable for everyday use next year – that is the prerequisite for the acceptance of electric vehicles to continue to grow. High-quality electric vehicles speak for themselves – they impress with their performance, driving dynamics and range. Adequate charging infrastructure is the bottleneck. If it is available, the switch to e-mobility can be even more dynamic. I am very confident that this change will succeed in the near future. For example, in markets such as China and some European neighbors, we see how fast e-mobility can win. Important is: The overall package for our customers must be right. That’s what we stand for.

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5 thoughts on “BMW: “The charging infrastructure is the bottleneck””

  1. You get a real terror! BMW has turned awake and now determines the loading infrastructure is the needle tube. I think this realization had all other car manufacturers years ago. One should even have built a private shop for the first time.

    The Finangheini should look at his history eyes in the documents. Then he will find that BMW has invested in ionity. Diess and Kallenius turned their backs on the Ionity friends when the expansion came to a standstill. Nothing was heard from BMW on that occasion. Now here at Christmas cookies, the second guard are giving the best of generalities. The only thing missing from the round is the data protection officer from BMW, who tells us that an electric car is locally emission-free.

    Where is the boss and his clear commitment to pure electric car platforms and a stop with combustion engines?

  2. An Elektroato brings its full benefits in connection with a wall box at its stand.
    Commuters with long commuting distances and wallboxes have the greatest advantages.
    There is a lack of charging infrastructure for rented parking spaces or in community property and less public infrastructure.
    At the moment, many private homeowners are having a subsidized wallbox installed in advance.

  3. Precisely because the charging infrastructure will be the bottleneck in the future, more charging infrastructure must be built.
    This new charging infrastructure is particularly necessary in the urban environment for those who do not have their own wall box or charging facilities at their employer.
    Fast charging points are becoming important in areas of daily shopping, where a lot of time is spent anyway.
    Slow charging points, like lantern chargers, must surely also exist. Here, however, I have noticed increasing abuse by non-(really) chargers, including car-sharing services that park their vehicles there (commercially).
    I am just as critical of an “own, exclusive public charging network for your customers” in the long term and was certainly due to the necessity of a manufacturer’s solution for marketing its vehicles and its associated plug type. Fortunately, such solutions cost a lot of money and, in my opinion, will not have a future because nobody can/will afford them and only leads to wasting a lot of potential.
    On the other hand, charging station operators with extortionate prices are cheeky, and their continued operation should be questioned first, especially if they were set up with subsidies. Charging must be the same for everyone, elitist system developments must be prevented.


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