BMW and the utility company Pacific Gas & Electrical (PG&E) have started looking into a technological innovation that would enable electric vehicles to help maintain the health of the grid.

According to a press release issued by BMW, testing is currently being carried out at a PG&E laboratory in San Roman, California. This is part of a relationship between the two companies that began in 2015 and continues to this day. In the past, BMW and PG&E offered financial incentives to customers who charged their electric vehicles (EVs) at times of the day when renewable electricity tended to account for a greater proportion of the total amount of electricity generated.

According to BMW, the current pilot programme “is evaluating how a typical house could improve its use of renewable electrical power by switching between EV battery saved renewable electricity and grid-supplied renewable electricity.”

2023 BMW i4

Take a look at the data, and according to BMW, a BMW i4 eDrive40 is capable of supplying roughly 140 kilowatt hours of grid storage for each day, in addition to having the capability of storing and returning 27 kilowatt hours of renewable power to the grid. That is roughly equivalent to using roughly twice as much clean energy in a single day as a typical house in the state of California does.

According to BMW’s explanation to Ingreene Automobile Studies, this concept is an evolution of the ChargeForward initiative. That was the programme that BMW developed to help i3 EV drivers cover their costs at times that were appropriate for the grid in their region.

2022 BMW i4 M50

According to BMW, the outcomes so far show that taking power from an EV battery, also known as an auto-to-grid (V2G) system, helps to increase the amount of renewable energy that is utilised. This information was provided by BMW. According to BMW, hooking up an electric vehicle to a home enables the consumption of approximately double the quantity of renewable energy that a typical family in the state of California will be able to use in the course of a typical working day.

This is especially relevant for people living in California, given that close to 40 percent of all electric vehicles (EVs) in the United States are now being driven on California roads (including the famous BMWs).

Following the completion of the pilot project, BMW and PG&E want to conduct a “area trial” at BMW’s Mountain Watch, California, worksite, which will involve a fleet of vehicles that have been modified to perform the V2G procedure. They have decided to extend their relationship until March of 2026; however, according to BMW, the commercialization of the technology that is currently being evaluated may take longer. That could move along more quickly if California mandated that all new electric vehicles be capable of bidirectional charging.

2023 BMW iX xDrive50

Up to one thousand residential customers and hundreds of professional purchasers are participating in the several bidirectional charging pilots that PG&E is now doing. The technology could be particularly well-suited for pairing with solar, which reaches its daily peak just prior to the time when household electrical power demands are at their maximum. This would provide homeowners of electric automobiles some degree of independence from the grid.

To this point, Ford is the only manufacturer of motor vehicles that provides a comprehensive package that enables brownouts to be properly avoided by the F-150 Lightning.