• Image Credit: Sebastian Blanco
  • Image Credit: Sebastian Blanco
  • Image Credit: Sebastian Blanco
  • Image Credit: Sebastian Blanco
  • Image Credit: Sebastian Blanco
  • Image Credit: Sebastian Blanco
  • Image Credit: Sebastian Blanco
  • Image Credit: Sebastian Blanco
  • Image Credit: Sebastian Blanco
  • Image Credit: Sebastian Blanco
  • Image Credit: Sebastian Blanco
  • Image Credit: Sebastian Blanco
  • Image Credit: Sebastian Blanco
  • Image Credit: Sebastian Blanco
  • Image Credit: Sebastian Blanco
  • Image Credit: Sebastian Blanco
  • Image Credit: Sebastian Blanco
  • Image Credit: Sebastian Blanco
  • Image Credit: Sebastian Blanco
  • Image Credit: Sebastian Blanco
  • Image Credit: Sebastian Blanco
  • Image Credit: Sebastian Blanco
  • Image Credit: Sebastian Blanco
  • Image Credit: Sebastian Blanco
  • Image Credit: Sebastian Blanco
  • Image Credit: Sebastian Blanco
  • Image Credit: Sebastian Blanco
  • Image Credit: Sebastian Blanco
  • Image Credit: Sebastian Blanco
  • Image Credit: Sebastian Blanco
  • Image Credit: Sebastian Blanco
  • Image Credit: Sebastian Blanco
  • Image Credit: Sebastian Blanco
It's fairly rare to get paid for doing absolutely nothing, but that's exactly the case for a select group of BMW i3 owners in California. A hundred people are part of the ChargeForward pilot program in coordination with BMW and Pacific Gas & Electric Company, and each participant gets a $1,000 gift card to not plug in their cars – at least not whenever they want to. It's all part of an attempt to develop strategies to reduce the strain on the grid during peak usage.

The trial runs from July 2015 to December 2016 in California's Bay Area. According to the automaker's website, when plugged in, BMW has the ability to delay the charging of the i3s by up to an hour. There are no necessary mechanical or software modifications necessary, either. Although, if drivers desperately need the juice, they can also opt out of the program for a day. At the end of the experiment, the people are eligible for a second gift card for up to another $540, depending on their involvement.

According to Bloomberg, with 65,000 electric vehicles in Northern California, the power company estimates the area has among the highest concentrations of EVs in the country. While all of those emissions-free miles are great for the environment, plugging them all in once just adds to the load on the system. As a second part of the program, used Mini E batteries are being repurposed to create a solar-powered, stationary storage system that Pacific Gas can also use to supplement the grid.

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