An update on the network of DC fast chargers installed at BMW Malaysia’s dealerships, related to their use. Since the programe began, use of these DC fast chargers has been free, and accessible to all EV owners. Now, it seems that while they remain open to the public, their use is no longer free, at least at a number of dealerships.

It has been revealed that a few dealerships are now charging payment for use of their DC fast chargers, each with their own pricing scheme. At Auto Bavaria Ara Damansara, the 180 kW charger (which is configured to 90 kW) is accessible through an app called Plugit Cloud – payment starts at RM15 (as the transaction fee) and that bags you 10 mins of free charging, followed by a rate of RM1.40 per minute of use.

Meanwhile, Ingress Auto is charging RM50 per use of its 90 kW CCS2 DC charger, and that’s for BMW and MINI EV owners. If you own an EV that’s not from these makes, the going rate is RM70 per use, which means charging to the capacity of the battery on the vehicle, since it doesn’t sound time-based. Cost-wise, the format will be beneficial to some vehicle models, less so to others.

The payment method for this one is also a bit fussier. Users will have to make a payment transfer to Ingress’ bank account, and key in their vehicle registration number as a reference in the payment. They then have to show proof of payment to the personnel on duty, who will then activate charging when the vehicle is plugged in.

Over at Tian Siang Premium Auto Ipoh, the 120 kW charger is also now pay-per-use for all EV owners, and for non-BMW owners the rate is RM2.40 a minute. Earlier this week, a non-BMW user reported that it took about 45 minutes to top up his vehicle from 56% to 100%, costing him RM108 in the process.

The rate is competitive when compared to that of the Shell Recharge HPC network, which in its pay-per-use format has a RM4 confirmation fee and RM20 for every five minutes of charging for the first 25 minutes, and RM20 for every five minute block thereafter, which works out to RM240 an hour (or RM244 with confirmation fee included).

Elsewhere, at least one outlet is denying use of its charger to outsiders, or non-BMW EV owners, at present. The Malaysian Electric Vehicle Owners Club (MyEVOC) reports that use of the just-installed 50 kW DC charger at Auto Bavaria Tebrau is being controlled. The unit is currently not open to the public, presumably because rates and payment have not been finalised.

The change in tack has likely come about due to higher usage from EV owners of late, looking to get a free tap of juice. We reached out to BMW Malaysia to ask if it the implementation of payment for use of its DC fast chargers was a blanket decision.

According to Sashi Ambi, head of corporate communications, not all BMW dealers have implemented this policy. Those that have, he said, have only done so because they are experiencing a high volume of traffic in vehicles due to their location. Not surprising then, given that everything has a cost, including electricity.

“Many dealers are primed to charge but they have not implemented it yet. The rates here are also temporary as we are looking to standardise all rates at BMW dealerships with special benefits and rates for BMW customers. There will be a preferential rate for BMW customers and for non-BMW customers,” he told paultan.org.