BMW has signed an agreement with China's State Grid EV Service, a subsidiary of the country's State Grid, to collaborate in the establishment of an electric vehicle recharging network across the country.

The deal was the first to be signed between a foreign auto brand and State Grid EV Service, China's largest highway recharging pile operator, and involves building a unified recharging network.

It would give BMW owners access to over 270,000 charging pillars along Chinese highways by the end of 2020, more than double the present tally.

As a result of the deal, BMW will be able to offer zero emission, long,distance travel across China for the first time with direct current charging services located along more than 50,000km (30,000 miles) of highways.

BMW Group Region China CEO Jochen Goller said "our strategic partnership with State Grid EV Service, a leading charging service provider, demonstrates BMW's strong commitment to China.

"Our efforts are also an active response to China's new infrastructure initiative, which aims to develop and support the application of new technologies.

"Chinese customers have the highest expectations, well beyond products and technology, and charging convenience is an important factor that will attract them to new energy vehicles."

The German automaker expects to have up to 25 battery electric and plug in hybrid models on sale by 2023.