BMW Unveils i Home Charging Services


BMW i Wallbox Pure (left) and BMW i Wallbox Pro (right)

BMW i Wallbox Pure (left) and BMW i Wallbox Pro (right)

At the recent CES Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, BMW, besides presenting its autonomous i3, also showed off its charging solutions – BMW i Home Charging Services.

One of the products is the smart home-enabled BMW i Wallbox Pro, presented in 2014, which could be integrated with solar power in the house and/or programmed to use the cheapest off-peak rates.

It probably will be significantly more expensive than other 7.4 kW units, although BMW claims that you can save up to $800 a year with good power optimization.

How the smart charging service works.
Using BMW i Home Charging Services, the vehicle is charged with homegenerated 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 dollars a 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 will stage 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.”

BMW Project Manager Julian Lienich said:

“With Home Charging Services, BMW is the first vehicle manufacturer to offer such a broad-based EV smart charging product. Our aim is to make mobility as cheap as possible for users and to allow them to maximise their use of green power – but without having to organise everything themselves.”

The other interesting idea was a concept of an energy storage system, utilizing used battery modules from BMW i cars. We bet that in few years, BMW will add ESS to the BMW i Wallbox Pro offer.

“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 – for example home-generated solar energy – can subsequently be used to charge an electric vehicle or to meet household power needs. The ability to use solar energy regardless of time of day helps households to achieve higher levels of energy self-sufficiency and to minimise the impact of rising energy prices.”

There is of course a solar carport concept with a roof area of 25 square meters, which could in one year generate enough energy for 32,000 km (20,000 miles) and will be available on sale “by 2016“.

Categories: BMW, Charging


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8 Comments on "BMW Unveils i Home Charging Services"

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” 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.”
This intrigues me the most. As battery storage finds its way to the future of PV installations, this software module becomes a critical element.

For all those lucky enough to have net metering, there is no need. There are more than a few of us EV-PV owners who do not have net metering and are paid wholesale rates for energy put back on the grid. Therefore, optimizing decisions when to store energy based on weather forecasts is more than a gimmick.

Sonnenbatterie, a German manufacturer of battery storage solution has recently entered the US. Herewith the link:
They have an intelligent solution to be able to maximize the use of a connected PV-system.

Thanks for the link. I always love it when you go to a web site and they tell you what their equipment can do but they fail to mention the price.

There is some indication on their german site under:

It’s not a lot of info but every bit helps.
I live in the US (MD) and currently pay 8.5cents/kWh and I would have to make a lot of use over a lot of years for this type of system to pay out. For my Dad, who lives in Germany, it’s a different story. He pays 28eurocents/kWh.

To me, there are two compelling use cases for Smart Home integration of an EVSE, or wallbox.
1. The home has limited electrical service such that if all the loads including the EV charging were active at the same time, the main breaker could trip. The Smart function would reduce the pilot signal to the EV in order to keep the current on the main feed below a pre-set limit. This integration could be accomplished with real-time SmartMeter feedback (Zigbee) or by a Home Energy Monitoring system that uses its own current transformers.

2. EV charging during the day to absorb surplus solar energy. This is only desirable if the solar energy fed into the grid is paid back a rate lower than overnight off-peak rates. The same kind of SmartMeter or Home Energy Monitoring system can be used to detect feed-in current flow and start EV charging or ramp up the charging rate on the car.

I didn’t even spend $800 a year charging my Volt every day!

Oh Wait! Solar City already does this, but better.

So I’m going to buy a multi-kilo-dollar solar system to leave my precious out in the weather to save the electricity cost of filling the miniature battery for a whole hour?

good demonstrator vehicle..
Let’s go full retro and make them look like classic wooden barns, then I can park Both my steeds there and the P1 can keep the i8 company whilst they swallow all those milliwatts