Three automakers - BMW Group, Ford Motor Company and American Honda Motor Co. - jointly announced an agreement to create ChargeScape, LLC, a new equally-owned company that will create a single, cost-effective platform connecting electric utilities, automakers and interested electric vehicle customers in the United States and Canada.
According to the press release, the plan is to leverage years of cross-industry research around the Open Vehicle-Grid Integration Platform (OVGIP) to manage energy usage for a broad pool of EVs.
ChargeScape is expected to unlock entirely new value that EVs can provide to the electric grid, including a variety of managed charging and energy-sharing services "never before possible with traditional gasoline-powered vehicles".
EV users will be able to earn financial benefits for participating in the new system but are promised to always remain in control of their charging and energy decisions. Meanwhile, electric utilities will gain access to an EV customer base with a goal to support grid resilience and a better utilization of renewable energy sources. On the automakers' side, the main benefit will be a common platform for vehicle-to-grid (V2G) features and the elimination of the need for individual integrations between each automotive brand and each electric utility.
It's a good thing that electric car owners will get an opportunity to charge from the grid in a way that prioritizes renewable energy or reduces/stops charging during peak demand periods. Another potential service will be sharing the energy stored in their EV batteries with the grid during times of peak demand but that's probably not for everyone due to concerns about the battery life.
The closing of the transaction and subsequent formation of ChargeScape are pending regulatory approvals. The new company is expected to be operational in early 2024. Once ChargeScape is fully operational, the three founding members welcome other automakers to join in.
It will be very interesting to see whether other automakers will be interested in this ambitious and complex project, or if they will wait for some more clarity.