BMW Launches Second Phase of ChargeForward Program

In an effort to further understand and expand the possibilities of smart charging for electric vehicles (EVs) and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs), BMW of North America has announced the second phase of its BMW ChargeForward program.

According to the automaker, BMW i3, BMW i8 and iPerformance owners in the Greater San Francisco Bay Area who are Pacific Gas and Electric Co. (PG&E) customers are invited to apply for participation in a 24-month program focused on managed EV and PHEV charging.

Funding for this second phase was secured through a competitive bid for a California Energy Commission grant.

BMW says the first phase of the program demonstrated the viability of creating grid value by optimizing smart charging of EVs. The company says it developed innovative solutions that utilize the existing vehicle communication system both to create value for customers and to help optimize the electric grid through demand response, which improves grid reliability, lowers costs and helps the environment by incentivizing customers to reduce usage during periods of high peak demand.

Conducted with PG&E from July 2015 through December 2016, BMW enabled nearly 100 BMW i3 owners located in the San Francisco Bay area to earn an incentive by offering flexibility in the time by which their vehicles were charged.

Building on the functionality tested in the first phase of the BMW ChargeForward initiative, the new phase will explore the ability to optimize charging events, whether the vehicle is charging at home or on-the-go.

As reported, the goal is to expand and test new smart charging functionality to generate greater benefits to the grid (including optimizing across multiple charging events, shifting charging across grid locations, adjusting charging according to the level of renewables on the grid, and exploring the benefits of optimizing charging in response to a variety of grid signals) and to EV and PHEV drivers (by way of participation incentives).

“BMW envisions a future where electric vehicles are part of a mobility and energy lifestyle and are instrumental for supporting increased renewable energy on a more efficient grid,” says Cliff Fietzek, manager for connected e-mobility for BMW of North America.

“In this next phase, we will leverage smart charging to expand the range of possible additional grid services that are expected to lower the total cost of electric vehicle ownership. By managing charging when a BMW i or iPerformance vehicle is plugged in – wherever the vehicle is plugged in – BMW can ensure that vehicles are efficiently charged to meet driver’s communicated mobility needs, while [also] helping the grid reach greater levels of efficiency and sustainability,” he says.

Click here to read about BMW’s findings from phase 1, and click here for more about the ChargeForward program.

Photo courtesy of BMW.

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