BMW i unveiled a further innovative product from its 360° ELECTRIC portfolio: BMW i Home Charging Services.
This smart solution for home charging of electric and plug-in hybrid BMW models is based on the smart home-enabled BMW i Wallbox Pro system already presented by BMW in spring 2014.
Using BMW i Home Charging Services, the vehicle is charged with home-generated solar power whenever this is available. At other times, or if the household does not have a solar generating system, the vehicle is automatically charged at the cheapest off-peak rates. This makes it possible to take advantage of flexible electricity pricing that varies depending on the time of day. In the USA, this can result in savings of up to 800 dollars a year. With this fully automated charging service, customers get a simple-to-operate system that integrates vehicle charging with the household electrical system and online-based data systems.
“With Home Charging Services, BMW is the first vehicle manufacturer to offer such a broad-based EV smart charging product,” says BMW Project Manager Julian Lienich. “Our aim is to make mobility as cheap as possible for users and to allow them to maximise their use of green power – but without having to organise everything themselves.”
In Las Vegas, BMW will stage a live demonstration of BMW i Home Charging Services, which was jointly developed by BMW and Beegy, a provider for distributed energy-management, based on the Beegy Software Platform. In this demonstration, a solar carport supplies solar power straight to the BMW i Wallbox, which uses it to charge the vehicle. The system also uses real-time solar power data and home energy data supplied by Solarwatt and Kiwigrid. A screen at CES displays real-time weather data, together with solar power forecasts, showing visitors how BMW uses such forecasts to optimally manage charging times. Even if the sun is not shining, real-time electricity pricing data from Genability can be used to ensure that the vehicle is charged when electricity rates are at their cheapest.
The Home Charging Services demonstration in Las Vegas also gives BMW the opportunity to present a concept product: a stationary energy storage system built from repurposed batteries previously used in BMW i electric vehicles. Energy fed to this home storage system – for example home-generated solar energy – can subsequently be used to charge an electric vehicle or to meet household power needs. The ability to use solar energy regardless of time of day helps households to achieve higher levels of energy self-sufficiency and to minimise the impact of rising energy prices.
BMW i Smart Charging Services aim to optimise charging costs and – if customers have a home solar generating system – to make best possible use of home-generated solar power. The fact that the system is integrated with home energy management systems also makes it possible to achieve the best possible balance between household electricity consumption and power used for charging the electric vehicle, thereby helping customers to achieve further cost savings and to make even more efficient use of solar energy.
A solar carport with a roof area of 25 square metres or more can produce enough power for 32,000 kilometres of electric driving a year (global average). Smart use of this power will in future provide BMW i customers with a fully self-sufficient charging solution for their vehicle.
This is the world’s first EV smart charging solution of its type, and it will be available to customers by 2016.