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BMW i ChargeForward Project Wins 2015 ESNA Innovation Award for Unique EV Battery Second Life Energy Storage System 

Award for Best Mobility Project presented at 2015 Energy Storage North America Conference

San Diego, CA – October 15, 2015… The BMW i ChargeForward second-life energy storage system enabled by Geli has been awarded a 2015 Energy Storage North America (ESNA) Innovation Award for its sophisticated second-life energy storage system. The award for the Best Mobility Project was presented at the 2015 ESNA Conference taking place in San Diego, CA. The ESNA Innovation Awards recognize excellence in energy storage projects. The award demonstrates the company’s commitment to innovation and to exploring the sustainability potential in all aspects of electric vehicle ownership.

“The goal of the BMW i ChargeForward project is to show how electric vehicles with smart charging capability and stationary 2nd life applications of EV batteries can provide valuable flexibility that would make it possible for utilities to maximize the effectiveness of the existing electricity grid, which we expect to ultimately lower total cost of EV ownership for consumers,” said Dr. Simon Ellgas Senior Advanced Technology Engineer - Sustainable Mobility, BMW Group Technology Office USA. “It shows the potential of collaboration between partners like PG&E, Geli, Princeton Power Systems and EV Grid but most especially our enthusiastic BMW i3 electric vehicle drivers."

San Francisco-based company Geli provided its Geli Energy Operating System (Geli EOSTM) to control and monitor the system at the BMW Group Technology Office in Mountain View, CA.  The Geli EOS enables the BMW microgrid to act as the backup capacity resource for the BMW i ChargeForward program, making it possible to commit to providing PG&E with up to 100 kW of reduced demand on the grid when requested.

“This project is a great example of Geli's vision coming to life - to network and leverage disparate assets to provide multiple energy services,” noted Dr. Ryan Wartena, CEO and Co-founder of Geli. “Our work with the BMW Group Technology Office is a breakthrough use of second life vehicle batteries and paves the way for integration of EVs as grid resources.”

Other partners include Princeton Power Systems, which provided the bi-directional inverter technology that made it possible to not only store electricity collected from the solar park in the MINI E 2nd life batteries but also to feed that energy not only into the BMW Group Technology Office building but also into the PG&E grid. The company EV Grid provided the integration of the MINI E for the 2nd life storage unit.  

The pilot study is being undertaken by the BMW Group Technology Office, together with Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E), whose service area covers Northern and Central California. Partnering with a group of nearly 100 BMW i3 drivers from the San Francisco Bay Area, selected from approximately 400 applicants, BMW i ChargeForward will demonstrate how intelligent management of electric vehicle charging can contribute to optimizing electric power grid efficiency while ultimately contributing to a reduced total cost of electric vehicle ownership. The study has two parts: a managed charge pilot program involving BMW i3 owners and a battery second life energy storage system. In the managed charge pilot program, these 100 BMW i3 drivers allow BMW to delay the charging of their vehicles by up to one hour per day, based on requests received from PG&E when grid loads are at their peak, while always prioritizing customer charging preferences. The program also includes a “second life” for used MINI E batteries, by repurposing these batteries into a stationary solar-powered electric storage system located at the BMW Technology Office in Mountain View, California.

The goal of the BMW i ChargeForward pilot is to provide PG&E with up to 100 kilowatts of capacity at any given time, regardless of how many BMW i3 electric vehicles are charging, as part of a voluntary load-reduction program known as “Demand Response.” The benefit to PG&E of more efficient use of existing power grid resources through EV charging management is passed on in the form of monetary incentives to program participants. Improved grid utilization, resulting from EV charging management combined with a solar-powered “second life” battery system, is expected to reduce stresses on the grid and reduce the need for additional peaker plants, thus reducing consumer costs while supporting the integration of renewable energy.

About BMW i
BMW i is the BMW Group’s forward-looking and sustainable brand dedicated to solving many of the mobility challenges faced by the world’s most densely populated cities.  The all-encompassing approach of BMW i includes the extensive use of recycled, renewable raw and naturally treated materials, alongside an extremely resource-efficient production method.
BMW Group In America
BMW of North America, LLC has been present in the United States since 1975.  Rolls-Royce Motor Cars NA, LLC began distributing vehicles in 2003.  The BMW Group in the United States has grown to include marketing, sales, and financial service organizations for the BMW brand of motor vehicles, including motorcycles, the MINI brand, and Rolls-Royce Motor Cars; Designworks, a strategic design consultancy based in California; a technology office in Silicon Valley and various other operations throughout the country.  BMW Manufacturing Co., LLC in South Carolina is part of BMW Group’s global manufacturing network and is the exclusive manufacturing plant for all X5 and X3 Sports Activity Vehicles and X6 and X4 Sports Activity Coupes.  The BMW Group sales organization is represented in the U.S. through networks of 339 BMW passenger car and BMW Sports Activity Vehicle centers, 149 BMW motorcycle retailers, 124 MINI passenger car dealers, and 36 Rolls-Royce Motor Car dealers.  BMW (US) Holding Corp., the BMW Group’s sales headquarters for North America, is located in Woodcliff Lake, New Jersey.

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