As electric vehicles proliferate and people try to conserve energy, moves toward smart charging seem only natural. Now, BMW is offering smarter charging, and it should mean more money in the pockets of its customers when they charge at home.

BMW owners who drive one of the company's i vehicles will be able to use the BMW Smart Charging App that taps into a national energy rate database (powered by Genability) to allow drivers to automate charging during off-peak hours when electricity usage costs are lower. Charging vehicles at these lower rates could save drivers as much as $400 a year, BMW says. It's a simple idea, but one that could make BMW's EVs even more attractive to potential customers.

The BMW Smart Charging App is initially available to customers who have leased a BMW ActiveE from the company's 2012 test fleet, a group whom BMW dubs Electronauts, and many of whom are also early adopters of the BMW i3. The app will then become available to all BMW i3 and i8 customers beginning in 2015.

The Smart Charging App is integrated with the BMW i Remote App, which links with the BMW ConnectedDrive interface to also allow drivers to monitor charging times and vehicle status, adjust charging settings and even adjust vehicle temperature so the car is ready before the driver gets in the vehicle. The Smart Charging App is available for iOS and Android devices. Find more information in the press release from BMW below.
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BMW Launches First App to Automate the Home Charging Process for BMW i Electric Vehicles.

09.06.2014

BMW Smart Charging App Determines Optimal Times for Charging Electric Vehicles Based on Rates and Calculates Cost.

Woodcliff Lake, NJ – June 9, 2014... The new BMW Smart Charging App makes it possible for BMW i customers to automatically identify the best rates and times for charging their electric vehicles at home. Developed by the BMW Group and available for Android and iOS devices, the BMW Smart Charging App is integrated with the BMW i Remote App, which allows drivers to get vehicle information via their smartphone. The BMW Smart Charging App has the potential to save customers as much as $400 annually on their electric bills. BMW is the first automotive manufacturer to offer this automated and fully integrated functionality.

In its initial phase, the BMW Smart Charging App is currently available to BMW Electronauts. Electronauts are electric vehicle enthusiasts who leased a BMW ActiveE as part of the company's field trial which began in 2012, many of whom were among the first in the U.S. to take delivery of a BMW i3. Through a direct connection to a national energy rate database hosted by BMW Group partner, software company Genability, BMW i3 drivers will be able to automate their charging strategy in advance for daily and weekly use. They can also check their energy rates in this database, determine the optimal times to charge their vehicles and get transparency over the charging costs.

"By automating the at-home charging planning process with the BMW Smart Charging App, we are offering BMW i customers greater convenience and helping them conserve energy while maximizing their cost savings," said Jose Guerrero, Product Manager and U.S. Product Planning and Strategy for BMW i, BMW of North America.

By linking the BMW ConnectedDrive interface through the BMW i Remote App, customers can also precondition their BMW i3 vehicles' temperature, see their vehicle status, view actual charging times and related costs, and adjust and disable their charging settings remotely.

"BMW is dedicated to improving the at-home charging experience for customers so they can best optimize their electric vehicles for daily use. The BMW Smart Charging App provides BMW i3 drivers with an easy-to-use app that is integrated with the vehicle," said Julian Lienich, Project Lead, BMW Group.

The BMW Smart Charging App will be available to all BMW i3 and BMW i8 customers in the U.S. in 2015.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 4 Comments
      Spec
      • 5 Months Ago
      Save $400 per year? Most EVs owners won't even spend much more than $400/year on electricity.
        Mike
        • 5 Months Ago
        @Spec
        It's not that far off. PG&E Schedule EV is $0.21/kWh Part-Peak and $0.10/kWh Off-Peak. That's a difference of $0.11/kWh for plugging in at the wrong time. EPA says 27kWh/100mi which is 3.7mi/kWh combined from the wall. At 1,000mi/mo that's 270kWh/mo electricity times $0.11 * 12 months = $356.40/year for charging at Part-Peak vs. Off-Peak.
          Mike
          • 5 Months Ago
          @Mike
          You will notice that the Off-Peak price is only $0.10 and the jump to the next time period is $0.11, so you're more than doubling your costs by not plugging in at the right time. So, actually Spec is also right. Most people don't spend $400/year for charging, but doing it at the wrong time can cost you that much MORE.
        ElectricAvenue
        • 5 Months Ago
        @Spec
        Some of us spend $0 on electricity, as we mooch off of public chargers. :-)