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BMW launches smart charging trial

The BMW i ChargeForward project is a collaboration with Californian energy provider Pacific Gas and Electric Utility Service (PG&E), and is now taking applications for the planned 100 participants in the Greater San Francisco area.

From July, these 100 i3 drivers will have information logged about their charging habits, and BMW will be able to remotely control the energy supply. By staggering the charging based on when the vehicles are due to be used, BMW hopes to reduce excess load on the grid caused by large numbers of drivers plugging in at once.

Drivers will be offered financial bonuses, and can opt out of the project using a smartphone app if they need to use the car at short notice, manually activating the charging process. Data about opt-outs will also be collected by the project.

In addition to smart charging, BMW and PG&E will use the project to test how ex-EV batteries can be used to store renewable energy for use as a buffer during peak operating hours. The batteries being tested are from the MINI E trial.

Alex Grant

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