Electric vehicles: BMW tests out EPRI’s demand charging platform


Non-profit organisation Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) is working with car manufacturer BMW to test an electric-vehicle integration platform designed to help utilities manage when plug-in electric vehicles (PEVs) are charged, a process known as demand charging.

Demand charging will make it possible for utilities to schedule electric vehicle (EV) charging for times of day when demand for electricity is relatively low, which could save BMW i drivers up to US$400 annually on their electric bills, the car maker claims.

BMWi EPRI test EV plaform utilities

Utilities and EV charging

EPRI will work with eight automakers and 15 utility providers across the US to develop an interface that, in addition to scheduling of charging, will also synchronise EV charging with renewable energy when available, and take advantage of real-time changes in the price of electricity in order to lower the cost of charging.

The collaboration led by EPRI will enable utilities, automobile manufacturers and other service providers to test the viability of communication standards already set by organisations including the Society of Automotive Engineers, the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC), the International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO) and the Open Automated Demand Response Alliance for use by electric vehicles.

Electric utilities and regional transmission organisations participating in the platform development and demonstration project include DTE Energy Company, Duke Energy, PJM Interconnection LLC, CenterPoint Energy, Southern Company, Northeast Utilities, Southern California Edison, Pacific Gas & Electric Company, San Diego Gas & Electric, Commonwealth Edison, TVA, Manitoba Hydro, Austin Energy, ConEd and CPS Energy.

Also working with BMW is IPKeys Technologies, a strategic partner in the Federal Government, Commercial and Energy sectors with expertise in the development, integration, and deployment of Demand-Response technology and a board member of the OpenADR Alliance.

Mobile app for EV charging

In June 2014, BMW unveiled the Smart Charging App for mobile devices following the launch of the BMW i3 electric vehicle allowing customers to automatically identify the best rates and times for charging their electric vehicles at home.

The app will be available to BMW i3 and BMW i8 customers in the US in 2015.