BMW Announces Cheaper Charging for i3, i8

BMW announced a new pilot program today at the 2015 Consumer Electronics Show designed to make charging its electric cars cheaper.

Working with a select group of BMW i3 owners and Pacific Gas & Electric Company (PG&E) in northern California, the program will study how time management of electric vehicle charging can improve electric power grid efficiency and reduce the total cost of ownership of an electric vehicle.

The goal is to provide PG&E with 100 kilowatts of capacity at any given time, even if there are a bunch of EVs charging on its grid. By allowing BMW to determine when the cars should be charged rather than the owners, the load on the grid can be reduced.

2015 Consumer Electronics Show Coverage

The pilot program will involve 100 i3 owners who will receive a $1,000 incentive for participating. BMW and PG&E will monitor the power grid load level during the trial. For each event where the grid reaches its peak, BMW will delay the charging of its program participants by up to one hour and consequently reduce load on the grid. Program participants will be notified of the delayed charging and will be able to override via a smartphone app to veto the delay.

Beyond the charging program, BMW is looking to recycle used EV batteries. Mostly from its former MINI E vehicles, these batteries still sport about 70 percent of their original storage capacity. They are now being used in a 200 kW storage system located at BMW’s Technology Office in Mountain View, California.

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