The future of electric vehicles depends upon increasing consumer access to reliable, clean energy resources. ChargeForward serves as one of the most innovative smart charging programs. With over 400 BMW drivers around the San Francisco Bay Area participating in Phase 2 of the program. The program integrates drivers, automakers, and grid operators to balance supply and demand on the grid while providing renewable energy benefits. As the adoption of electric vehicles grows, innovations like ChargeForward will further accelerate the shift from fossil fuels toward a more sustainable driving future.
Here’s what makes ChargeForward unique:
ChargeForward uses vehicle telematics to transform electric vehicle charging to access more sustainable energy sources. BMW’s investment in this pioneering system has allowed automakers, drivers, and utility companies to maximize the use of green energy by electrified vehicles.
This is how the system works: when a driver plugs in their vehicle, instead of immediately charging, the vehicle sends data on its current state of charge and projected unplug time to BMW. BMW simultaneously receives data from the utility about energy prices and current grid and renewable energy conditions for the vehicle’s specific location.
Next, the system considers the vehicle’s charging costs, and the driver provides input to the optimization based on their preference for the lowest charging cost or highest renewable energy use. Using these inputs, BMW is able to calculate the optimal charge windows for each vehicle and relay the charging signals to the vehicle through its vehicle telematics system.
Daylight Charging Hours
Smart charging technology helps integrate renewable energy into the grid by allowing EVs to charge when there is high renewable energy generation, or when electricity is inexpensive. Smart charging during the day aligns with peak solar energy generation and helps utilities incorporate more renewables into the energy supply.
BMW’s ChargeForward program reduces use of fossil fuels in the charging process, with no impact on the drivers’ mobility needs. Drivers that charge at home at night can shift away from peak hours to low-cost overnight times, while still having a full battery in time for the morning commute. This opportunity for grid benefits is even greater for commuters who can plug in at work.
Through ChargeForward, BMW is pioneering partnerships between automakers and utility companies. Through its direct relationships with drivers through the program app and partnerships with local utility companies, BMW is paving the way for smart charging.
Traditionally, grid operators maintain the balance of energy sources by increasing or decreasing generation in response to daily, hourly, and minute-to-minute changes in customers’ electricity consumption. However, with smart charging programs like ChargeForward, utility companies and automakers can better overcome challenges posed by uneven renewable energy integration and provide low-cost green energy solutions to drivers.
In the future, smart charging will be critical to supporting renewable energy generation and integration—enabling EVs to minimize their carbon footprint, thereby mitigating climate change and reducing pollution. As part of its commitment to sustainable mobility, BMW is proud to bring bold innovations and new solutions like ChargeForward to life.
Check out the full ChargeForward Report below.