Pacific Gas and Electric and BMW of North America last week announced they will expand their existing ChargeForward partnership to study smart charging and vehicle-to-everything technologies, known as V2X.
“Electric grid sustainability is becoming an increasingly complex challenge across the U.S.,” Adam McNeill, vice president of engineering for BMW of North America, said in a statement. “That’s why we started our ChargeForward program in 2015, to connect our vehicles, our customers, and the grid.”
Through the program, now in its third pilot phase, BMW and PG&E explored managed charging approaches by offering customers cash incentives to charge vehicles at times when more renewable energy was available. The V2X testing partnership is a result of the success of ChargeForward, the companies said.
The V2X collaboration will run until March 2026 “with a focus on smart charging testing,” the companies said. BMW and PG&E will test vehicle-to-grid applications in a field trial at a BMW facility in Mountain View, California, and V2X applications at PG&E’s Applied Technology Services Lab in San Ramon.
“Using V2X technology to create virtual power plants from EVs can help utilities like ours meet peak electricity demand without the need for non-renewable energy resources,” said Aaron August, PG&E vice president of utility partnerships and innovation.
As EV penetration rises, utilities are looking for ways to manage charging demand and use the vehicles’ batteries as a grid resource. Electric vehicles now represent about 7% of new vehicle sales in the United States, up from around 2% in 2020.