Smart Vehicles Are Getting Smarter with BMW ChargeForward

With communication technology and smartphone connectivity, how much more intelligent can smart vehicles get? BMW i is taking eco-friendly technology to the next level with smart electric vehicle charging – making the most of renewable energy while keeping public electric grids stable.

Partnering with Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) BMW – is testing its “ChargeForward” program in the Bay Area, with the goal of supporting utility grid balance of supply and demand and renewable energy goals. Launched in 2015, 350 owners of electrified vehicles in the Bay Area are utilizing ChargeForward and reducing their energy consumption in the process.

“Our target is to offer charging power generated with the lowest possible CO2 emissions at most attractive prices to drivers of our electric cars,” says Dr. Joachim Kolling, Head of BMW Group Mobility and Energy Services.

ChargeForward supports BMW’s holistic sustainability vision, which includes electric mobility and sustainability initiatives. Phase 1 of the ChargeForward pilot demonstrated the capability of the program to charge BMW i3 vehicles while lowering electricity operation and maintenance costs. By improving grid conditions, this program is ultimately expected to help California realize its climate goals and reduce the total cost of EV ownership for consumers. 

Through this program, which is supported by a California Energy Commission grant, BMW will further explore the strategic management of a vehicle’s charging over time and space, including home, public and workplace charging, by aligning charging with wholesale energy market data and renewable generation.

To learn more about the program, visit

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The BMW Group is Working to Achieve Sustainable Development Goals

In autumn 2015, the General Assembly of the United Nations adopted the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that formed the heart of the 2030 Agenda to shape economic growth in an equitable and environmentally sound way. The BMW Group is committed to this new social contract, and to attaining the SDGs that form its foundation. We are addressing the SDGs where we believe we can have the greatest impact though our sustainability strategy and with a focus on our value chain.

We are convinced that companies, governments, and other organizations can make a positive contribution towards the attainment of the SDGs.
On a global level, the BMW Group has identified SDGs where we can work to drive the greatest global change. These Goals include:

SDG 11 – Sustainable Cities and Communities: with our integrated mobility services and innovative approaches, we want to change mobility patterns in selected metropolitan areas in a sustainable way. These include our car-sharing services DriveNow and ReachNow, which increasingly offer electric vehicles, as well as the electric scooter specially designed for commuter traffic in cities. With the Urban Mobility competence center created in 2015, the BMW Group supports the paradigm shift from cities suitable for cars to cities suitable for people. The center acts as a platform through which the BMW Group works with cities and other partners to develop new concepts for future urban mobility with a view to making cities even more attractive to live in.

What’s more, the BMW Group also invests in start-ups with promising mobility concepts through its investment fund BMW i Ventures with registered offices in Silicon Valley. With competitions and internal start-up programs, we promote the development of further innovation in the context of SDG 11 in a targeted manner. An intrapreneurship competition was held for this purpose in summer 2017. All departments were called upon to submit ideas for products and services on the topic of “Sustainable Cities and Communities.”

SDG 12 – Responsible Consumption and Production: we continuously reduce CO2 emissions and resource usage per vehicle produced. In our locations worldwide, we are increasingly focusing on renewable energy and are also working with our supplier network towards improving resource efficiency. The joint venture “Digital Energy Solutions,” founded in 2015, also offers digital-based services to small and medium-sized companies, with a view to better harnessing the potential of renewable energy. The recycling of vehicle parts is also promoted with the joint venture Encory, founded in September 2016.

SDG 13 – Climate Action: if a consistent measurement method is applied, we are continuously reducing the CO2 emissions of our vehicle fleet. Electromobility is an essential component of our CO2 strategy. We are consistently increasing the proportion of electrified drive systems in our model range and therefore not only make a contribution towards the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, but also towards improved air quality in urban areas. Worldwide, the BMW Group plans to sell at least 140,000 electric cars and plug-in hybrids as early as this year and is currently on course to achieve that target.

The BMW Group is also addressing several of the Goals in different markets and in different ways to serve the communities where we work. In the U.S. market, we look for all opportunities to contribute to the SDGs in a meaningful way.

For instance, the MINI Takes the States campaign raises money for Feeding America, a network of over 200 food banks that provide food to over 46 million people in need. The proceeds raised from MINI Takes the States 2018 supported one million meals—contributing to SDG 2 – Zero Hunger. The BMW Group is also focused on SDG 4 – Quality Education across the U.S. and at different levels. At BMW Manufacturing Co. in Spartanburg, South Carolina, the BMW Scholars program provides students access to affordable and highly valuable training with a direct path to employment. Similarly, BMW MSTEP training creates education opportunities for returning military service members, helping to ease their transition to civilian life. Additionally, BMW Financial Services is focused on tackling SDG 6 – Clean Water and Sanitation through its Care4Water project, which provides access to clean water for people in need.

The BMW Group is committed to finding new and creative ways to contribute to advancing the SDGs on both global and local levels. We believe that companies have an inherent responsibility to act as responsible corporate citizens, and are constantly looking for new ways to add value to the societies and environments where we do business.

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The BMW Group Supports American Red Cross through Donations to Support Disaster Services

The BMW Group has a long-standing commitment to supporting the American Red Cross and its disaster services that touch communities across the country. As a member of the Disaster Responder Program, donations from the BMW Group enable the Red Cross to prepare for, respond to and help people recover when disasters strike.

The BMW Group’s annual corporate giving contributions to the Red Cross start at $250,000 and benefit the organization’s programmatic funding. Additionally, the BMW Group donates $5 from every BMW First Aid Kit sold to the American Red Cross. These donations support disaster services, collecting lifesaving blood, teaching skills to save a life and assisting military members and their families.

Corporate social responsibility is central to our obligation as a community partner. Every partnership is an instrument of change. Each contribution is a reflection of our principles.

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Accelerate Zero Emissions by 2028 Olympics

The unprecedented Transportation Electrification Partnership—convened by the Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator (LACI) —released the 1.0 version of their Zero Emissions 2028 Roadmap, setting the goal to move toward an additional 25 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution beyond current commitments—through accelerating transportation electrification—by the time the world arrives in Los Angeles for the 2028 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

“Using the deadline of the Olympics in 2028, we can use the LA region’s can do attitude along with California’s leadership to make things possible that were never before,” said Mary D. Nichols, Chair of CARB. “That’s why this partnership is so powerful and critically important to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, cleaning up our air, and leading the transition to a zero-emissions future.”

The Roadmap also includes targets for the deployment of charging infrastructure, electric buses and medium-duty electric delivery trucks, among other targets. The Roadmap will be a key tool that other cities and regions outside Greater Los Angeles can use to inform their own efforts to move towards zero-emissions, working to combat climate change in the manner inspired by the Paris Climate Accord.

“The BMW Group is excited to be part of the LACI Transportation Electrification Advisory Group helping to identify ways to reduce GHG emissions and air pollution by accelerating zero emission mobility,” said Lisa Errion Saums, the BMW Group’s Vice President of Government and External Affairs for the Americas. “The targets elaborated in the ZEV roadmap are very ambitious and require a substantive investment in infrastructure, additional financial and non-monetary incentives and continuous customer education and outreach. In order to reach these ambitious objectives joint efforts from all stakeholders involved are needed. LACI is bringing together an unprecedented partnership of local government leaders, utilities, regulators, start-ups and carmakers to work collaboratively and achieve regional transportation electrification faster. The BMW Group is committed to help transform mobility in L.A. to meet air quality and climate goals.”

For more information view the full article here.

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BMW i and TED join Next Visionaries

In the hopes of discovering the next big idea in mobility, BMW i and TED laid down a challenge. What would the future of mobility look like? There were no constraints on time frame or existing technology. The Next Visionaries project was conceived as a free form exercise in innovation and ideation with the goal to surface some truly breakthrough concepts.

Ideas poured in from around the world. Nearly 200 visionaries from 42 countries offered their own perspectives for how we will be moving in the near and distant futures. Presented exclusively by BMW i, the TED Salon curated talks around the theme Speed of Change. The session considered the rapid evolution and transformation taking place in cities worldwide and posed such questions as: How can we keep them humane places in which to live and work? What smart technologies can make transportation of people, goods and ideas flow efficiently? And how can architects and designers use materials and style to preserve and distinguish local cultures?

The jury went on to crown Sandra Phillips as the competition winner thanks to her vision of car sharing, which pays particular attention to social and extra-urban factors. “Like all the other finalists, Sandra Phillips has thought outside the box. Her concept is already quite advanced and also considers the aspect of social change,” says Hildegard Wortmann, Senior Vice President Brand BMW and member of the Next Visionaries jury, providing some background on the decision.

Nikolas Peter, Member of the Board of Management of the BMW Group, likewise emphasized the relevance of social aspects when it comes to shaping the future: “For more than 100 years, the BMW Group stands for visionary thinking and technological advancement. We always put people in the center when considering future development. For us, it is crucial that innovation first and foremost delivers added value for our customers, employees and society.”

For more information view the full article here.

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MINI Feeds America

MINI Takes the States is a campaign to raise money for Feeding America, a network of over 200 food banks that provides food to over 46-million people that need it. All of the proceeds from MTTS go to Feeding America and those proceeds helped raise one-million meals. Over the course of the entire 2018 rally, more than 3,600 MINI owners took part, when combining all of the legs of the trip, with more than 1,000 MINI owners on the road at any given day.

One of our sources at MINI told us that the symbolism of having two legs of the trip, starting at either end of the country, meeting in the middle is not lost on the people at MINI. MINI Takes the States brings people together, both figuratively and literally, and it helps a good cause as well. If you own a MINI and you’ve yet to take part, we highly suggest it in 2020.

For more information view the full article here.

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ChargeForward Leverages Solar Energy Resources through Smart-Charging

ChargeForward is a pilot project currently being tested by the BMW Group in the Bay Area., The project aims to use as much solar energy as possible to charge electric vehicles, while keeping the public electricity grid stable. In partnership with Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E), the BMW Group is developing smart software to monitor the electricity grid for high loads and defer charging to times when there is less strain on the infrastructure. The charging control system also responds flexibly when the weather is sunny to utilize the abundance of renewable energy. All of this happens almost unnoticeably for the customer, but simultaneously allows charging to be noticeably cleaner and cheaper.

In leading this project, BMW i is shaping the future of electric vehicle charging by figuring out how to make plentiful use of solar energy without ever overloading the public electricity grid. In 2017, ChargeForward entered into the second test phase and is now being fine-tuned to perform more sophisticated functions and give users information on the impact of their participation.

For more information view the full article here.

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BMW i Partners with UN Environment to Shape Electric Mobility in Latin America

In August 2018, BMW i—the branch responsible for the design and manufacture of electric vehicles—signed an alliance with the United Nations Environment Program to promote the use of electric vehicles and other sustainable mobility solutions in Latin America and the Caribbean. In accordance with the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, the goal is to transform the transport sector in this region with the use of clean technologies that also bring more benefits to the population.

The regional director of UN Environment in Latin America, Leo Heileman, is confident in the implementation of a new model of electric mobility, and our regional manager of BMW i in Latin America, Oliver Rosenthal, has committed to working with State entities to promote electric mobility technology. Together, the two organizations seek to share information and knowledge, promote dialogue with other stakeholders, and accelerate action on the national level in pilot countries and cities.

For more information view the full article here. 

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New Clemson Vehicle Assembly Center Fosters Student Innovation and Development

In 2003, BMW partnered with Clemson University in South Carolina to establish the International Center for Automotive Research (CU-ICAR). Since then, we have invested heavily in research and development efforts being carried out between automotive researchers, students, and manufacturers there.

This February, we opened the Clemson Vehicle Assembly Center—a new, 4,000-square-foot facility equipped with a full vehicle assembly line, joining lab, sub-assembly lab, embedded devices lab, collaborative robotics center and autonomous factory vehicles. The center will initially allow for 100 students to participate in both developing and learning advanced manufacturing techniques, with plans for future growth.

With the BMW Group’s largest manufacturing facility located nearby in Spartanburg, we believe that investing in centers like this one is paramount to continue developing innovative manufacturing techniques and training the next generation of employees in our industry.   

For more information view the full article here.

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The Evolution of the BMW Scholars Program

Established in 2011, the BMW Scholars program provides tuition assistance and hands-on training in advanced manufacturing to full-time students working towards manufacturing-related degrees at partnering technical colleges. The scholarship covers the cost of tuition and books, provides healthcare benefits, and pays students for their work at the BMW assembly plant. Over the past seven years, the program has graduated 180 students, all of whom received an offer of full-time employment with BMW upon graduation.

Earlier this year, we were able to gain a new education partner and double the size of our program to a total of 200 scholars. Our partnering institutions currently include: Spartanburg Community College, Greenville Technical College and Tri-County Technical College, and Piedmont Technical College. With technology constantly changing in the automotive industry, we believe it is important now more than ever to invest in training highly-skilled workers who can solve problems.

For more information, view the full article here.

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BMW donates $1 Million to African American Museum

This year, BMW donated $1 million to the International African American Museum, bringing the waterfront Charleston project within $2 million of its private fund-raising goal. The gift, one of the biggest to date, will be recognized in the Orientation Theater, where guests will begin their visit.

Former Charleston Mayor Joe Riley, who announced the vision for the museum by the Maritime Center in his 2000 State of the City Address, said BMW’s endorsement should be a sign of the project’s importance to the state. Riley has been working to persuade lawmakers to include a $5 million allocation to the museum in this year’s budget. The Senate included the $5 million in an amended budget that was sent back to the House.

Museum CEO Michael Boulware Moore said the relationship between BMW and South Carolina “illustrates that even the largest, most internationally renowned institutions can benefit greatly from local, pointed focus.”

For more information view the full article here.

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