BMW Group South Africa (BMW SA) will investigate updating the software on the 60 Ah version of the BMW i3 electric car, in an effort to assist with some older models of the vehicle apparently struggling to make use of selected GridCars fast chargers.
The problem was first highlighted by the South African Electric Vehicle (EV) Owners Forum.
GridCars has been responsible for rolling out/managing a number of EV charging stations in South Africa. However, it appears the company did not whether the 60 Ah BMW i3 model is able to charge adequately at its charging stations.
The BMW i3 is available in a 60 Ah, 94 Ah and 120 Ah model.
BMW SA has its own network of vehicle charging points.
“The updating of the software is an attempt at assisting customers who could potentially be impacted,” says BMW SA i-product communications specialist Hailey Philander.
“All 60 Ah BMW i3s in South Africa currently run the same software and, as mentioned, we know of a number of these cars that have been able to successfully charge at the GridCars fast chargers.
“But, if a software adjustment has a positive effect on our customers’ ability to charge, we will investigate the option.”
Philander says BMW SA would like to provide its customers with the widest possible choice when electing to recharge their vehicles.
GridCars CEO Winstone Jordaan says that GridCars is aware that older BMW i3s are designed and limited to 50 kW charge points.
“All BMWs work fine on our charging points, except the newest charge points, which are 80 kW.
“This is something that will be solved in the next few days and will simply be a software update. Note also that only four chargers on the network are of this 80 kW version.”
Two vehicle manufacturers have an active EV presence in South Africa, namely Jaguar and BMW.
Nissan has not sold a Leaf EV in South Africa for a number of years.
The GridCars charge points, as well as the charge points installed and managed by vehicle manufacturers, are, on average, designed to be shared by all vehicle brands, in an effort to promote EV use in South Africa.
“The BMW i sub-brand has been active in South Africa since 2015, and we are proud of its consistent progress,” notes Philander.
“It bears repeating that we believe that manufacturers of electrified vehicles should continue working together to pool knowledge and resources with the common goal to increase the acceptance and adoption of EVs in South Africa.
“It is important to also note that BMW's expanding ChargeNow network, which can be accessed at no charge by BMW i3 owners and drivers, is compatible with the entire range of BMW i3s sold in South Africa.”