At the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, BMW announced the BMW i ChargeForward Program—a pilot study to be undertaken by the BMW Group Technology Office, together with Pacific Gas & Electric Company (PG&E). Working with a select group of BMW i3 drivers, BMW i ChargeForward will demonstrate how intelligent management of electric vehicle charging can contribute to improved electric power grid efficiency while reducing total cost of electric vehicle ownership.
BMW i ChargeForward is designed to explore how to better match the impact of electric vehicles with other dynamic energy supply and demand sources. The study has two parts, a managed charge pilot program involving BMW i3 owners and a battery second life energy storage system. In the managed charge pilot program, select BMW i3 owners will allow PG&E to request a delay in the charging of their vehicles by up to an hour, when grid loads are at their peak. The program also includes a “second life” for used MINI E batteries, by repurposing these batteries into a stationary solar-powered electric storage system located at the BMW Technology Office in Mountain View, California.
Grid efficiency through managed charging, combined with a used EV battery “second-life” system. The goal of the pilot is to provide PG&E with 100 kilowatts of capacity at any given time, regardless of how many BMW electric vehicles are charging, as part of a voluntary load-reduction program known as “Demand Response.” The benefit to PG&E of more efficient use of existing power grid resources through EV charging management is passed on in the form of monetary incentives to program participants. Improved grid utilization, resulting from EV charging management combined with a solar-powered “second-life” battery system, is expected to reduce stresses on the grid while supporting the integration of renewable energy.
Program participation. Up to 100 BMW i3 drivers located in the San Francisco Bay Area who complete a pre-qualification survey at www.bmwichargeforward.com, starting in January 2015, will be selected to participate in the managed charge segment of the pilot from July 2015 to December 2016. Throughout the 18-month pilot, BMW will manage the charging of participating BMW i3 vehicles, while prioritizing the e-mobility needs of participants based on timing by which vehicles should be fully charged, as communicated through a smartphone app.
For each program “event,” when PG&E experiences peak load conditions, participants whose vehicles are selected for delayed charging will receive a text message notifying them that their vehicle will stop charging for up to one hour, thereby temporarily reducing the load on the power grid. Using the BMW i ChargeForward smartphone app, participants can opt out of any request based on their driving needs, and their vehicle charging will continue uninterrupted—for example, if they need to depart for a trip during peak load times and need a full charge sooner.
As an incentive for participating, selected drivers will receive $1,000 initially, and an additional reward of up to $540 at the conclusion of the program, based on their level of participation in charging Demand Response “events,” as well as participation in occasional BMW or PG&E sponsored surveys or questionnaires.
BMW will begin accepting applications at www.bmwichargeforward.com in January, and the program will kick off in July 2015.
EV battery “second life” system using MINI E vehicle batteries. The battery second life portion of the project involves a full-scale stationary energy system built from eight used MINI E batteries to store energy and return it to the power grid. This 200 kWh system, located at the BMW Technology Office in Mountain View, California, is one of the largest second life systems in the world.
At the end of a vehicle’s life, these batteries still have at least 70% of their original storage capacity available, making them suitable for re-use. By removing them from the vehicle and installing them in a stationary storage system with integrated solar power generation, new renewable capacity can be added to the grid—supported by resources that once took energy from it. This additional power will supplement the energy load reduction by intelligent management of BMW i3 charging, to ensure PG&E grid needs are met, based on signals sent to BMW by PG&E as part of Demand Response.
BMW i Home Charging Services. Separately, but also at CES, BMW introduced BMW i Home Charging Services—a solution for home charging of electric and plug-in hybrid BMW models based on the smart home-enabled BMW i Wallbox Pro system already presented by BMW in spring 2014.
Using BMW i Home Charging Services, the vehicle is charged with home-generated solar power whenever this is available. At other times, or if the household does not have a solar generating system, the vehicle is automatically charged at the cheapest off-peak rates. This makes it possible to take advantage of flexible electricity pricing that varies depending on the time of day. In the USA, this can result in savings of up to $800 per year. With this fully automated charging service, customers get a simple-to-operate system that integrates vehicle charging with the household electrical system and online-based data systems.
In Las Vegas, BMW is staging a live demonstration of BMW i Home Charging Services, which was jointly developed by BMW and Beegy, a provider for distributed energy-management, based on the Beegy Software Platform. In this demonstration, a solar carport supplies solar power straight to the BMW i Wallbox, which uses it to charge the vehicle. The system also uses real-time solar power data and home energy data supplied by Solarwatt and Kiwigrid. A screen at CES displays real-time weather data, together with solar power forecasts, showing visitors how BMW uses such forecasts to optimally manage charging times. Even if the sun is not shining, real-time electricity pricing data from Genability can be used to ensure that the vehicle is charged when electricity rates are at their cheapest.
The Home Charging Services demonstration in Las Vegas also gives BMW the opportunity to present a concept product: a stationary energy storage system built from repurposed batteries previously used in BMW i electric vehicles. Energy fed to this home storage system can subsequently be used to charge an electric vehicle or to meet household power needs.