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BMW Partners With Shell Recharge Solutions to Ease Public EV Charging

The vast majority of electric-vehicle owners charge at home, but for longer road trips and other times you need to juice up on the go, public charging is still something of a headache. Many charging networks mark the locations of their stations and handle payment within proprietary apps, resulting in an experience vastly more complicated than simply noticing the low-fuel light in your gas-powered vehicle then pulling up to a pump beneath the next giant Shell sign you see.

Automakers are scrambling to streamline the process, and BMW’s latest step is a new partnership with Shell Recharge Solutions. The agreement collates charger locations and information from many of the largest charging networks and integrates it into the My BMW App. Including Shell Recharge, ChargePoint, EVgo, EVConnect and Blink, this announcement means BMW drivers now have access to more than 100,000 public chargers in the U.S. and Canada.

Not only does adding more networks to the app make it easier for BMW EV drivers to find chargers, it provides critical information like pricing and charger availability — since EVs take a lot more time to top off than gas-powered vehicles, pulling into a station where all the plugs are taken can mean a much longer wait — and simplifies payment. For security reasons, many public EV chargers do not have credit-card readers and only accept payment through their associated apps. It’s like if Shell, BP and the other major gas-station chains only allowed you to pump after you prepaid through a proprietary app.

Public charging might be a headache for now, but through partnerships like this — or BMW’s agreement that gives EV buyers two years of free 30-minute sessions on Electrify America chargers — BMW and other automakers are working to make the transition to electrification as painless as possible.