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If you own a BMW i3 you could be getting paid by your utility

Imagine someone offering you money to charge your BMW i3. Well some local San Francisco bay area i3 owners, got some welcomed news about a new program for the car owners from PG&E that does just that.

Only about 100 applicants into the program were accepted which was set up to reduce power consumption during peak electrical load times in the area. There are similar programs in large cities for businesses and the local power grids are equipped to reduce load during peak periods to lessen black and brown out conditions.

What is extremely interesting is that for the luckily participants, they will get $1000 for participating in the program. I can’t tell you how much I would love to be in this program, but I don’t have a BMW i3 or a utility that is running a program like this.

Depending on the car drivers schedule this seems like a really easy way to control the electrical grid load. Since most cars are, most of the time, not being driven, but instead are rather sitting parked at work or at home or at some other location. This allows flexibility in terms of when the car is charged. For example, I have never used the programing feature in my Nissan Leaf to set my charging time as I don’t get any special rates at any time of the day so it really doesn’t matter to me if I charge in the afternoon or in the middle of the night.

Since the battery pack can be charged up at night while the driver is sleeping, this allows great flexibility for managing the power demand along with controlling electric water heaters, pool pumps, and electric clothes dryers.

What this program will ultimately do is help the utility understand the percentage of the Electric car drivers that would be impacted by load management strategies, should additional electric vehicle sales projections be realized.

Vehicle to Grid technology already exists and I would hope that rather than try and restrict electric car adoption, the utility would rather harness the power that electric cars already harness to solve this pending problem. The V2G concept simply refers to the ability to allow the utilities to pull power out of the grid connected electric vehicles during times of peak demand. Think of the megawatts of power that are stored in all the electric vehicles and how they can be used to power up the grid when it is under stress.

I am looking forward to the results of this program and hope that PG&E will share their results.

If you are an BMW i3 dealer, see how you can improve the sales of this EV.


John Goreham    August 4, 2015 - 11:08AM

Here in Mass. we are very jealous of all the free EV utility money in CA. I spoke to the folks at Eversource, one of the main providers in Mass. No Off-peak charging rates, no more smart meters, and the only EV incentive is a $10 per month rebate on electricity. The current Eversource cost per kWh is about $0.27. Presently it is less expensive per mile to gas a Prius than charge a Leaf here in Mass.