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BMW Announces EV Charging Pilot Program

January 06, 2015

Photo of i3 courtesy of BMW.
Photo of i3 courtesy of BMW.

BMW will show how intelligent management of electric vehicle (EV) charging can contribute to improved electric power grid efficiency while reducing total cost of electric vehicle ownership, the automaker announced Monday.

The pilot study will be undertaken by the BMW Group Technology Office in cooperation with Pacific Gas & Electric Company (PG&E), whose service area covers much of Northern California.

The two-part study will look at a managed charge pilot program involving BMW i3 owners, and a battery's second life energy storage system.

In the managed charge pilot program, which BMW has named i ChargeForward, 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 offers 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, Calif.

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, according to BMW.

Up to 100 BMW i3 drivers located in the San Francisco Bay Area who complete a pre-qualification survey at, starting in January, will be selected to participate in the managed charge segment of the pilot from July 2015 to December 2016.

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