BMW paying Bay Area i3 owners up to $1540 to delay charging

31 Jul 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

BMW adds i3 electric cars to car sharing fleet.

Up to 100 BMW i3 owners in the San Francisco area are being offered $1,000 to hold off on charging during hours when the electricity grid is stressed the most.In a new pilot program, a California utility is paying drivers of BMW electric cars to delay charging their vehicles when the power grid is under pressure.BMW takes the problems of urban congestion seriously, which is why it is promoting car sharing with its DriveNow program in Munich, Berlin and Hamburg as well as London and San Francisco. Peter Berman, a 70-year-old, semi-retired Los Altos psychologist, was selected from about 400 applicants. “My understanding is that we’ll get a text message that says ‘Hey, you’re charging your car right now, can you back off for an hour?’” said Berman, who began leasing his $40,000-plus i3 in October. “This is the wave of the future.

This particular trial will run for 18 months by the Pacific Gas & Electric company, kicking of this week in order to attempt in reducing the impact that electric cars have on the grid. The PG&E-BMW pilot is one of many such experiments trialed across the globe as utilities try to anticipate and adapt to the (probable) future when millions of electric autos would roam the city streets and highways. And the issues come with challenges and compromises: for example when the grid is too strained because too many cars are plugged at the same time the power companies could pay drivers to use the electricity stored in their batteries while the cars are parked. The chosen customers will also be eligible for an additional bonus of up to $540 at the end of the program, but that amount “will be determined by individual participation levels throughout the 18-month program,” according to BMW. (Drivers have the ability to opt out of participation for one day at a time, which would presumably lower the amount they’re eligible for.) About 400 people have applied and the last few spots are still being filled, according to BMW.

Being paid just to delay the charging of one’s vehicle, especially when the city’s power grid comes under some amount of pressure due to high consumption at peak hours. PG&E believes there could be around 65,000 electric vehicles across its massive northern California service territory, the highest tally of such vehicles than anywhere in the US. BMW doesn’t say what kind of gift cards they’re handing out, but it’s almost definitely Chuck E Cheese’s, the Preferred Premier Dining Experience Of BMW Drivers Everywhere That I Just Made Up. Of course, this is but a single out of many other experiments that are happening worldwide, where there is a collective effort being made to figure out which is the best method when it comes to recharging electric vehicles (EVs). The newly introduced iChargeForward pilot developed with BMW is part of the utility’s so-called demand response program: they now call on industrial customers and large building owners to lower electricity consumption when there’s not enough supply.

Jana Corey, PG&E’s director of electrification and alternative fuels, shared, “We are quite committed to the adoption of electric vehicles in California. Bernhard Blättel, Vice President Mobility Services at BMW AG. “In line with our strategic goals, we are setting out to establish ourselves as the leading supplier of premium products and premium services for personal mobility worldwide.” Research done by BMW and Ford indicates that younger people are quite receptive to the idea of car sharing.

Power companies have also made a habit of incentivizing customers not to use power during peak hours by offering time-of-use pricing and a number of other rebates. Thirteen Nissan Leafs are among 36 vehicles being tested at the Los Angeles Air Force Base, currently the largest vehicle- to-grid demonstration project in the world. City planners envision the day when fewer cars on city streets will make it possible to rededicate some of the acres devoted to parking for more beneficial purposes such as urban green space and pathways for pedestrians and bicyclists. Getting there will require buy-in from the auto industry, which is currently pouring more resources into autonomous vehicles and worries that sending electricity from cars to the grid will add wear and tear to the batteries, the most expensive part of an electric car. “There’s a huge amount of electrical power in these vehicle fleets that represents an amazing resource,” said Tim Lipman, co-director of the Transportation Sustainability Research Center at the University of California at Berkeley. “Everyone is talking about the need to add storage to accommodate all of the renewable energy.

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