With the BMW i3, you can use both alternating current (AC) or direct current (DC) public charging stations. As well as broadening you charging options, it also enables you to charge the BMW i3 faster. A DC public charging station delivers a constantly powerful current allowing charging to 80% capacity in around 40 minutes. The BMW i8, with its smaller battery is not suitable for DC charging.
Other public charging stations require the use of a public charging cable, available as an accessory. Using this to link to an AC Rapid station charges the BMW i3 to 80% capacity in around three hours, while an AC Fast station will do so in around four hours. The BMW i8's smaller battery is only suitable for charging at an AC Fast Station, and will recharge in 1-2 hours.
The ChargeNow network has a large number of public charging stations that are compatible with the BMW i vehicles. These are accessed via a ChargeNow card, which for a monthly subscription provides access to the UK’s largest charging network. Stations are easily found via the map in the Navigation System, and used via a swipe of the card.
Approximately 80% of the charging points are free to use. There will be some chargeable posts, although these cost just 9p per kWh excluding VAT - cheaper than the average cost of charging at home.