Welcome to future sustainability: BMW introduces the most advanced smart charging program, through an innovative partnership with California-based utility provider PG&E that leverages the sophisticated communication technology in the BMW ConnectedDrive system to support utility grid efficiencies through management of vehicle charging times. BMW is inviting selected BMW i3, i8 and iPerformance* customers in the San Francisco Bay Area to join us as we further explore the expected benefits to utility efficiency and the environment through optimized vehicle charging – with up to $900** in incentives available to those who qualify.
*BMW X5 xDrive 40e, BMW 330e, and BMW 740e xDrive iPerformance models.

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What does BMW ChargeForward stand for?
BMW ChargeForward is an initiative designed to create an optimal path to the future of electromobility, in which BMW explores the relationship between the utility grid, plug-in electric vehicles, and renewable energy sources.
Phase 1 of the pilot successfully demonstrated the ability to intelligently manage the home charging of BMW i3 vehicles, lowering costs associated with operating and maintaining the grid.
The second phase of ChargeForward, which runs through December 2018, is expected to demonstrate expanded benefits of charging optimization through management of both current and projected future charging events (in contrast to single charging event management). This approach offers utilities and grid operators even greater flexibility in assigning vehicle charging load to times and locations where it is most needed. ChargeForward returns some of the resultant savings to customers as a way to reduce the total cost of EV ownership.
Why is BMW extending the ChargeForward pilot?
BMW was awarded a California Energy Commission (CEC) grant to extend and expand the initial pilot in order to further explore optimization opportunities between EV charging and the grid. BMW will collaborate with California-based utility PG&E to optimize vehicle charging over events, and will explore related topics including: using vehicle telematics to measure performance data, evaluating public charging events to determine if they offer additional grid benefits beyond overnight charging, and exploring additional in-home optimization opportunities, such as home solar or home battery storage.
These benefits – to the grid, to EV drivers, and to the environment – are expected to grow substantially as vehicle battery size and the number of plug-in electric vehicles increases, together with the amount of uncontrollable renewables, such as solar energy, being integrated into the grid. BMW is interested in developing a fuller understanding of the interplay of these factors, to optimize the future of electromobility.
How will BMW achieve charging optimization?
The next phase of BMW ChargeForward builds upon learnings to date to utilize real-time vehicle technical information, predictive travel behavior analysis, grid location data and energy market price data to strategically manage a vehicle's charging through its current and projected future charging events. This project consists of three phases that sequentially introduce new grid functionality needed to realize the potential of e-mobility charging management. With this input, BMW expects to better leverage vehicle charging at home and on the go in support of achieving greater grid efficiencies.
How does charging optimization, or managed charging, work?
All e-mobility charging will be optimized by BMW's intelligent charging software, with commands sent wirelessly to each participating BMW vehicle. There are no physical or software modifications to the car as part of BMW ChargeForward. The BMW intelligent charging software analyzes detailed grid conditions in determining a charging strategy, but also prioritizes the driver's mobility needs. Drivers are given the opportunity to input their desired departure time and other data, which are used to define charging flexibility. Furthermore, if an e-mobility charging event occurs and the customer chooses not to participate, they will have the ability to "opt out" of the event, to allow for immediate vehicle charging. That vehicle remains "opted out" until the next time the owner plugs the vehicle into a charger.
What is the benefit to the customer?
Participating BMW owners will be compensated for their involvement with a monetary incentive of $300 at program launch, as well as a second amount of up to $300 in early 2018 and another up to $300 in early 2019 (program conclusion), based on the number of individual "opt outs," participation in occasional charging modification requests, and participation in one-off questionnaires or surveys, throughout the program. Prorated incentives are also available for participants whose vehicle leases end prior to the program conclusion (December 2018). By collaborating with BMW to realize intelligent management of their at-home and public EV charging, participating BMW owners are helping BMW define a more sustainable future of e-mobility. *These incentive amounts and dispersion dates are subject to reduction for any new participants invited to join following pilot launch and for participants who do not complete the program due to earlier vehicle lease end date.
Who is eligible to participate?
Eligible applicants must be BMW i3, i8 or iPerformance drivers in the San Francisco Bay Area who are willing to allow BMW access to the charging of their vehicle's home and public charging events for the duration of the pilot. Drivers whose vehicle lease ends prior to the end of 2018, are also encouraged to apply. If otherwise eligible, these drivers may be invited to participate with incentives prorated accordingly. If such participants decide to lease another eligible BMW vehicle, they may be eligible to continue participation by contacting BMW at
If I am selected, how long am I expected to participate?
While participants are invited to join us for the entire pilot, which ends December 2018, BMW drivers whose vehicle lease ends prior to the end of 2018 are encouraged to apply. If otherwise eligible, these drivers may be invited to participate with incentives prorated accordingly.
How many customers do you expect?
BMW expects to enroll at least 250 BMW i and iPerformance customers to participate.
If I am selected to participate, how can I maximize the value of my second and third incentives?
To maximize the value of the second and third incentives, participants are encouraged to:
  • Fully participate as frequently as possible during the program (minimize opt-outs)
  • Follow occasional instructions for requested temporary charging behavior modifications, such as increasing day-time charging and avoiding overnight charging
  • Participate in occasional research questionnaires or surveys as part of the BMW ChargeForward Program, conducted by or on behalf of BMW or its partners
If I opt out today, how long am I opted out and do I need to actively opt back in?
If a customer decides not to participate in a particular charging event, this decision is in effect until the next vehicle plug-in to a charging station. It is not necessary to opt back in.
Will the customer's mobility be affected by BMW ChargeForward?
Because BMW ChargeForward involves customer-owned vehicles, mobility and driver experience continue to be the highest priority in this pilot. BMW ChargeForward works with the existing charge schedule features in the BMW app to ensure that each vehicle always has a full charge when needed based on the customer's desired departure time. Additionally, participants are notified, by the ChargeForward app, when their vehicle charging is being optimized and can always "opt out" of participation of that event through the BMW ChargeForward app.
What were the learnings from the initial phase of BMW ChargeForward?
Twelve months of testing during the initial phase demonstrated that controlled charging using vehicle telematics can serve as a valuable resource to the utility in managing the grid. BMW gathered evidence to demonstrate that the home charging of EVs can be successfully leveraged, when combined with supplemental renewables, to meet utility grid demands for load shifts. Load shifting during high usage times of day enables the utility to avoid building new peaker plants, reduce energy cost, avoid carbon emissions, and reduce the likelihood of a blackout. Therefore, the utility is willing to compensate PEV (plug-in electric vehicles) for this service, which helps improve the economics of electric vehicle ownership.
Additionally, our findings support the case for increased integration of renewables to the grid through electric vehicle charging, thus reducing fossil fuel dependence and carbon emissions.
Why is the California Energy Commission (CEC) funding this research through BMW ChargeForward?
The rapidly evolving electrical grid in California faces the challenge of integrating large amounts of renewable energy, particularly wind and solar – both of which are unpredictable. Since grid operators cannot control these energy sources, they need new ways to ensure that the supply of electricity is equal to the demand for electricity at every moment. Managing the charging of electric vehicles is one way to help manage these energy sources. Vehicle charging can be aligned to renewable loads to keep the grid balanced and improve grid stability – particularly as EV and PEV vehicle sales continue to increase in the state.
The CEC awarded the grant to BMW to research the benefits and opportunities that may result from shifting vehicle charging over time to meet the needs of the grid, while prioritizing each driver's expressed mobility needs (ie – the time by which the car needs to be charged to a certain level). BMW plans to collaborate with its partners to understand the value of this functionality and better understand how it contributes to the state's expressed energy goals.
Why is BMW partnering with PG&E in California?
With more than 62,000 plug-in vehicles sold in California in 2015, California's utilities are exploring how PEV charging can be a tool to help them improve grid reliability and incorporate growing amounts of renewable energy. As a leader in electromobility, BMW views smart charging as a way to improve the environmental attributes of our electric vehicles – and a chance for our customers to receive compensation from local utilities for providing valuable grid services. BMW selected PG&E as a partner in this pilot due to PG&E's support of new smart grid technologies and willingness to explore advanced forms of smart charging.
What is Battery 2nd Life?
At the end of the life of an EV, it is currently expected that the lithium-ion battery will still have at least 70% of its original capacity available. This presents a compelling opportunity to reuse this battery, before the battery is recycled, as a stationary storage resource on the grid. BMW is exploring what is called "battery 2nd life" as a way to increase the life cycle sustainability of its BMW i and iPerformance vehicles.
Why is BMW interested in this project?
As a leader in electric mobility, the BMW Group has an intrinsic motivation to investigate vehicle-grid optimization and renewable energy integration for several reasons:
  • Minimize upfront costs and total cost of EV ownership
  • Minimize the grid impact of plug-in electric vehicle charging
  • Support integration of renewable energy as part of the BMW commitment to sustainability
  • Identify and meet future grid requirements
Does participation in BMW ChargeForward have any implications for the vehicle battery?
Because BMW ChargeForward works with the BMW i and iPerformance vehicles and requires no software or hardware modifications, there are no impacts to the battery or any other component. Customers are simply allowing BMW to advance or delay charging, according to the needs of the electricity grid, together with the customer's own stated charging preferences and prior charging behavior.
Is this "V2G" / Vehicle-to-grid?
BMW ChargeForward combines two technologies, which are key to the success of electromobility:
  1. Smart vehicle-grid integration to manage the timing of EV charging for greater grid efficiency.
  2. Electric vehicle battery second life for stationary energy storage.
Through controlling the charging of customer BMW cars, we aim to show the benefits to the electricity grid we can achieve with our cars on the road today, without bi-directional charging.
How will personal data be used?
We respect our customers' privacy and are committed to protecting the security of their personal information. Some vehicle driving and charging information is necessary for the effective operation of the BMW ChargeForward program, and some limited information is shared in confidence with our utility and research partners as part of BMW ChargeForward, and with the CEC. We also maintain physical, electronic and procedural safeguards designed to protect personal information and will not rent or sell personal information to third parties.
What environmental benefits are expected from BMW ChargeForward?
BMW ChargeForward demonstrates how controlling the electricity demand of electric vehicles can be used to optimize a more consistent grid load. This enables the utility to more efficiently use its existing resources and reduce dependency on expensive, less-efficient power plants that are used to support peak demand. The utilities also have greater flexibility to support the integration of less predictable renewable energy, such as wind and solar, onto the grid. Select phases of BMW ChargeForward will also examine the integration of home solar and home energy storage in conjunction with vehicle charging management, to help realize grid optimization - reinforcing BMW's commitment to maximizing sustainability throughout the vehicle life cycle and beyond.