BMW Group unlocks renewable energy through mobility
The BMW Group is leading a consortium from the automotive, energy and science industries – including TenneT – to develop ways to make electric mobility more convenient, cost-effective and lower in emissions. The interdisciplinary research project, ‘Bidirectional Charging Management – BDL’, was recently given the go-ahead. It aims to bring a holistic approach to how vehicles, charging infrastructure and power grids are linked, promoting widespread use of renewable energy and increasing security of supply.
The project, sponsored by the German Aerospace Center (DLR) and funded by the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy, is set to run for three years. From the beginning of 2021, the first 50 BMW i3s with bi-directional charging technology, will be tested under real conditions in everyday life.
Bi-directional charging enables electric vehicles to not only absorb electrical energy for the high-voltage battery when connected to a charging station or wall box, but also to feed it back into the power supply in the opposite direction.
Electric vehicle batteries become mobile energy storage devices that can also supply electricity if needed. Integrating as many electric vehicles as possible into the power grid calls for a wide range of innovations in vehicle technology, charging hardware, charging management and communication interfaces with energy industry stakeholders. It also has legal implications.
“Digital integration makes electromobility an important component of the energy transition.”
All of these areas will form part of the research project, which – besides the BMW Group – is joined by KOSTAL Industrie Elektrik GmbH (development of charging hardware), transmission network operator TenneT and distribution network operator Bayernwerk Netz GmbH (both energy system services), the Research Institute for Energy (FfE) and Research Association for Energy (both energy system analysis), the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT; research into electricity market and grid repercussions) and the University of Passau (user research).
A previous pilot project between TenneT and the BMW Group, focused on the intelligent charging of electric vehicles, contributed to lay the groundwork for the research. It revealed the potential for intelligent charging control of electric cars to be used for grid stability. It also showed how digital integration makes electromobility an important component of the energy transition. In this follow up BDL project the blockchain enabled Crowd Balancing Platform is also in scope.
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