This Is How BMW’s Electrics and Hybrids Contribute to a Sustainable Future

April 13th, 2018 by

With gasoline prices creeping up again it could be the right time to consider an electric vehicle (EV) or hybrid. Turns out that these vehicles may hold some great promise for a sustainable energy future. BMW’s innovative engineers have been on the forefront of this exploration.

Beyond Recycling

If you’re an eco-conscious consumer (and that includes lots of Coloradans) you might have some concerns about what will happen when your car’s battery just doesn’t have the juice to give your vehicle the get-up-and-go it needs to get you where you want to go. Buy a new battery? Dump or recycle your old battery?

These are questions that BMW has been working on for several years. The result is a compelling idea that goes beyond recycling: re-use. Here’s an interesting story featuring one man’s efforts.

BMW Battery Innovation

The research shows there could be a very valuable second life for your EV’s or hybrid’s battery, as a source of power for an individual home, storage for solar collectors, or as part of the electrical grid in concert with renewable energy generation such as wind and solar.

Consider a recent estimate by Bloomberg New Energy Finance that by 2040 more than half of all new cars will run on electricity. Those cars represent some opportunities that BMW has been exploring with success:

  • In 2016 BMW developed a home energy storage system based on used BMW i3 batteries. The concept is that used batteries can still be hung on a garage wall and used to store energy from solar panels and provide the energy needed to run a home. That would allow consumers to have power if there’s a grid outage and also to save money during peak energy-use hours. Years of research and testing have gone into the idea, part of BMW I 360?, which includes charging products for both home and public applications.
  • BMW partnered with Bosch and Vattenfall in Hamburg, Germany. It connected 2,600 used battery modules from more than 100 BMW i3 vehicles into a power storage facility that provides stability to the larger electric grid. This power station went up in September of 2016.
  • BMW collaborated with California power company, PG&E on BMW i ChargeForward, a pilot study combining about 100 privately owned BMW i3s in the San Francisco area between July 2015 and December 2016. BMW agreed to provide the utility with 100 kilowatts of power on demand. It was accomplished through a combination of delaying charging for the vehicles and a second-life battery storage system BMW installed. Using a combination of the two in this so-called “managed charging” demonstration, the pilot was able to supplement energy for PG&E when grid demands were highest.
  • Last fall, BMW commissioned the BMW Battery Storage Farm Leipzig using second-life BMW i3 batteries for storing local wind energy and for stabilizing the existing grid. This facility ultimately will use up to 700 high-capacity used battery packs. BMW builds its i3 vehicles at its Leipzig plant. Joachim Kolling, Head of Energy Services at the BMW Group said, “We are demonstrating once again that the concept of sustainability at BMW i goes far beyond the car.”

Sustainability is important to Colorado, but we’re also a mobile society that wants and needs personal transportation options. The natural choice for right now is an electric or hybrid vehicle. And we can be comfortable knowing that their batteries have a viable future beyond getting us around.

Schomp BMW of Highlands Ranch has some attractive offers on BMW i3 and X3 40e vehicles. There are also both state and federal tax incentives that make them doubly attractive. Come visit us on Plum Valley Lane and let our Client Advisors and BMW Geniuses demonstrate how well they will fit into your lifestyle and budget.