The history of e-Mobility began with the idea of electric cars and has greatly evolved over the years. Today, it comprises of not only electric vehicles (EV) but also other means and methods of transport involving the utilization of electricity. E-Mobility represents the concept of using electric powertrain technologies (e.g. EV, plug-in hybrids), communication technologies, in-vehicle information, and connected infrastructures to support the momentum behind electric vehicles and fleets.
Inspired and driven by the needs to address fuel efficiency and emission requirements, and the market demands for lower operational costs, the overall goal of e-Mobility is to have environment-friendly and efficient vehicles that abide by regulatory requirements, and to move away from the traditional use of fossil fuels and oils.
Sulzer US is a proud supporter of BMW of North America and BMW Technology Office USA with a wide variety of projects surrounding e-mobility including Smart Charging, Open Automated Demand Response (OpenADR), fleet view with charging data comparison leveraging innovative and cutting edge technologies.
One of the e-mobility solutions developed and supported since 2015 by Sulzer US is the ChargeForward app for iOS and Android. BMW has partnered with the California Energy Commission to fund their research in finding new ways to ensure supply of electricity meets the demand for electricity — managing the EV charging was one way to help manage the energy source.
Sulzer US teamed up with BMW Group Technology Office in a pilot project managing the demand charging process of BMW i all electric cars (BMW i3 at the time) to demonstrate a theory that electric vehicles (EV), via smart charging and demand response, can support the energy grid and can be used as a flexible grid resource.
So how does it work? The idea behind the ChargeForward program is efficient management and optimization of all e-mobility charging based on energy prices and renewable energy content. Leveraging BMW’s intelligent software, the detail of the electricity grid is analyzed in determining a charging strategy while prioritizing the drivers’ mobility needs (to improve the environmental attributes of EVs and chances for EV owners to receive compensation from local Utility for providing valuable grid services).
The ChargeForward app serves a critical role in notifying the program participants of Demand Response (DR) events (a program that pays customers to reduce energy consumption during peak demand time), and allowing them to either opt-in (e.g. charge at another time) or opt-out (e.g. charge now) of the event, and view incentives accrued over time from the app.
Another e-mobility solution provided by Sulzer US is the Fleet View — a web-based portal for fleet operators to monitor fleet vehicles. A simple user interface coupled with real-time vehicle data, the portal provides the fleet operator an overview of all vehicles out in the field. All the data is stored and is available for access for data and trend analysis.
Sulzer US will soon be participating in the next phase of the ChargeForward initiative to develop a software that can optimize vehicle charging and home energy storage systems for a larger pool (approximately 400) of customer owned all electric (BMW i3, i8) and plug-in hybrid (BMW iPerformance) vehicles in California!
The system is to be integrated with the BMW software backend to enable optimized charging windows to be sent to vehicles and energy storage systems. New functionalities and features to be developed include but are not limited to: vehicle charging performance reporting, charging time translator, enhanced customer facing smart phone app, and a customer web portal.
We look forward to the challenge of providing solutions that improve the health and sustainability of the planet.
The Sulzer US team is proud to announce the successful launch of the BMW ChargeForward program, which tests the ability of electric vehicles to support the energy grid as a flexible grid resource.
A tremendous amount of work has been put in by the team here at Sulzer US and we are extremely proud of everyone’s efforts to get this project on the streets! But special notice goes to, George Magharious, who took the lead on the project. He comments that the app is a brilliant way to manage the charging time of users, while excluding rush hours to save energy. “Coming from a strong background in iOS development, I was excited to take on the challenge of working on an Android project. The project was an unexpected surprise that allowed me the freedom to explore the technology within the given parameters from the client. It’s very surreal to see an app that I worked on being talked about in the news!”
Ari Venrenen writes about the success of the program in her article, PG&E, BMW Pilot Successfully Demonstrates Electric Vehicles as an Effective Grid Resource:
“The newly released program results successfully demonstrate PG&E’s theory that EVs can be used as a flexible grid resource- which could ultimately lead to cost savings associated with operating and maintaining the grid as well as owning an EV.
‘As EV adoption continues to grow, the potential for these clean vehicles as a grid resource becomes more significant,’ said David Almeida, program manager for the PG&E and BMW iChargeForward pilot program. ‘The success of this pilot program helps to demonstrate the future possibilities of scaling the smart charging capabilities of this growing resource to support the energy grid.’
For the 18-month pilot, PG&E and BMW worked together to test how managed charging of customer-owned EVs can benefit the grid during times of high demand. Throughout the program, PG&E sent demand response signals to BMW requesting a load reduction on the grid of up to 100 kilowatts. BMW selected vehicles for delayed charging- up to one hour delay per day- and sent a signal to the drivers through their existing BMW smart phone application.”
The success of the pilot grants BMW the chance to lead a second phase, which will explore optimizing charging events wherever the vehicle is charging-whether at home or on the go! Sulzer US enthusiastically looks towards the future success of this project!
See the full i ChargeForward article:
Learn more about the i ChargeForward technology, as well as our other solutions!