BMW All-Electric i3

BMW All-Electric i3

BMW, as announced earlier this year, together with Pacific Gas and Electric Company, has started the BMW i ChargeForward Program, a delayed charging program to test reduction of demand on the power grid during peak periods.

100 i3 drivers (out of approximately 400 applicants) will participate in the project in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Every participant will get $1,000 initially for readiness to delay charging by up to 1 hour on Pacific Gas and Electric Company's request, plus additionally up to $540 at the conclusion of the program depending on their share in the program.

"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 charging will be halted for up to one hour, thereby temporarily reducing the load on the power grid. Using the BMW i ChargeForward smartphone app, participants can choose to opt out of any request based on their driving needs, however, 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."

Julia Sohnen, Advanced Technology Engineer - Sustainable Mobility at the BMW Group Technology Office USA said:

“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."

BMW intends to have 100 kW of power available for Pacific Gas & Electric Company at any time.

MINI E

MINI E

There is also a 240 kWh energy storage system built from old MINI E battery packs, combined with solar power, which will be used in the demand response tests.

"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 240 kilowatt-hour 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."

According to Bloomberg, PG&E estimates that there are 65,000 EVs in its vast northern California service territory. Counting just 1 kW average per vehicle (not all will be connected at peak load) we see potential for 65 MW of peak shaving already.