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iChargeForward Moves BMW Forward

August 4, 2015 in Electric Drive, EVs, Infrastructure, Research, Technology by Rich Piellisch  |  No Comments

Automaker and PG&E Utility Explore EV-Grid Options

BMW said Monday that its iChargeForward program, under which drivers of battery electric BMW i3 vehicles are asked to forego their charging for an hour during times of high demand, has begun. iChargeForward is a joint initiative with the Pacific Gas & Electric utility.

BMW is testing the idea of paying EV drivers not to charge when the grid is busy.

BMW is testing the idea of paying EV drivers not to charge when the grid is busy.

As an incentive for participating, drivers – approximately 100 have been selected from 400 applicants – receive $1,000 initially, and an additional reward of up to $540 at the conclusion of the program. The amounts is based on their level of participation in Demand Response charging “events,” BMW says. The EV drivers are also asked to participate in occasional BMW- or PG&E-sponsored surveys, or to answer questionnaires.

The joint BMW-PG&E program was outlined early this year (F&F, January 6).

How and How Flexible

“One thing that we’ll be investigating with this pilot is understanding how people charge, how flexible they are with respect to when they charge, and how best to design future products in way that benefits both customers and utilities,” Julia Sohnen, an advanced technology engineer for sustainable mobility at the BMW Group Technology Office USA, said in the iChargeForward announcement this week.

The goal of the pilot is to provide PG&E with up to 100 kilowatts of capacity at any given time, regardless of how many BMW electric vehicles are charging. Such “Demand Response” is a way for an electric utility to provide incentives to customers “to change their normal consumption patterns in a way that will benefit the power grid.”

The program also includes a second life initiative for used Mini E batteries, by repurposing them for a stationary solar-powered electric storage system at the BMW Technology Office in Mountain View, California.

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Source: BMW with Fleets & Fuels follow-up

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