by Rob Hare
The BMW Group, Ford, and the American Honda Motor Company have announced ChargeScape – a new equally owned company designed to create a single, cost-effective platform that connects electric utility providers, OEMs, and EV owners in the U.S. and Canada. Following the closing of the transaction and the formation of ChargeScape, both of which are currently pending regulatory approvals, the JV’s founders expect it to be operational from early 2024.
Through its platform, ChargeScape is aiming to showcase and unlock the value electric vehicles can provide to the grid, while offering customers the chance to gain financial benefits through managed charging and energy-sharing services. To achieve these goals, the BMW Group, Ford and Honda will leverage their cross-industry research around the potential for an Open Vehicle-Grid Integration Platform (OVGIP) to develop its own platform while managing energy usage across a broad pool of EVs.
Utilizing this research will allow ChargeScape to eliminate the need for individual OEMs to interact with various utility providers, with the platform instead providing electric utilities access to a central hub of battery energy sourced from a broad variety of EVs. Through ChargeScape, EV owners will be able to charge at ‘grid-friendly’ times determined through flexible and managed schedules that allow them to experience and earn financial benefits. At the same time, owners will also be able to further support the grid during times of peak demand by sharing their EV’s battery energy with it using dedicated vehicle-to-grid (V2G) applications.
Through ChargeScape, BMW, Ford and Honda will additionally look to support the ongoing decarbonization of the grid by helping its EV customers reduce their own carbon footprints. Here, the company will prioritize clean energy from renewable sources such as wind and solar, while encouraging customers to adopt similar renewable energy technologies and incorporate them into their own charging practices.
In broadening the appeal of ChargeScape and its services to as many consumers as possible, the automakers behind the company will pool their mutual experiences in telematics and utilize them to provide managed charge scheduling through vehicle connectivity solutions without the need for Wi-Fi enabled charging stations. This opportunity works to help ChargeScape appeal to those EV customers who have not adopted smart charging solutions at home, due to their EVs being otherwise unreachable for grid services.
While announcing ChargeScape and outlining its mission, BMW, Ford and Honda also invited other automakers to join the JV, once it is fully operational, and help them unlock the potential provided by its grid service offerings.