You have to give it to BMW for being at the forefront of smart charging programs for electric vehicles. The German automaker has been running several special programs to get more out of an electric car fleet, including offering grid services in California as we recently reported.
This week, BMW announced yet another electric vehicle charging program, BMW Digital Charging Service (DCS), to manage charging sessions in order to save money and get more out of home solar installations.
The program aims to take advantage of time-of-use electricity rates and solar energy. Combined with BMW’s own home charging station, BMW i Wallbox, the system is completely autonomous and it will manage your charging sessions to keep your electric vehicle charged for the lowest cost possible, or using the most solar energy possible.
BMW explains the “tariff-optimised” part of DCS:
“In the case of tariff-optimised charging, the BMW Digital Charging Service aligns the charging plan to the customer’s electricity tariff. Cost-efficiency of the charging process is improved and the vehicle is automatically charged at the lowest electricity rates. In selected markets, BMW i cooperates with innovative energy providers, so that customers are even able to receive cost reimbursements.”
The “solar-optimised” option is very similar, but for a home solar installation:
“In the case of solar-optimised charging, the BMW Digital Charging Service is aligned to the domestic photovoltaic system. DCS predicts the solar power based on the weather-forecast and the output of the installed photovoltaic system specified by the customer and establishes a charging plan. In this way, the amount of electricity not consumed at the time of being generated in the home can also be used for cost-efficient charging of the electric vehicle. The vehicle is automatically charged in optimum combination with the self-generated solar power.”
BMW is launching two additional BMW i Wallbox models, including one WiFi-enabled model to go with the DCS program:
BMW released a few details about the new chargers:
“They are now able to handle three-phase charging currents of up to 22 kW. The top-of-the-range model is the BMW i Wallbox Connect, which features a factory-set WiFi connection and is therefore an ideal match for the innovative Digital Charging Service. Furthermore, it is not only possible to record the amount of electricity generated via the BMW i Wallbox Connect separately for each vehicle but also to export the data following the charging process, which is, for example, essential for recording charging costs.”
The new BMW Digital Charging Service (DCS) will be available for BMW i owners in Germany and the Netherlands in early 2017. BMW said that more countries will follow.
Here’s an example of BMW’s DCS app: