Electric cars might not emit anything from the tailpipe, but that doesn't mean they're perfectly clean. Depending on where you live, power from the plug comes from a variety of sources, which means your battery power could be coming from a coal-fired power station, rather than a clean, green wind farm. BMW is tackling this problem with its new Digital Charging Service, using the weather forecast to formulate a smarter charging plan.
When it's up and running, the Digital Charging Service can be set up to save the planet, or save the owner money. Set up for tariff-optimized charging, the service creates a charging plan based on the owner's energy plan. The system will automatically charge the car when electricity rates are at their lowest, meaning money savings without any effort from the driver.
UPGRADE TO NEW ATLAS PLUS
More than 1,200 New Atlas Plus subscribers directly support our journalism, and get access to our premium ad-free site and email newsletter. Join them for just US$19 a year.UPGRADE
The other option is all about making the most of alternative energy. In some parts of the world, the BMW i Division will collaborate with "innovative energy providers" to provide owners with rebates if they charge up using renewable power sources, but the real trick comes when the system knows what kind of renewable is being used.
If an owner has their own solar panels, the Digital Charging Service keeps an eye on the weather forecast, and is able to predict how much energy the system will produce, and creates a charging plan based on that figure. As well as minimizing reliance on coal-fired power, it also helps save the owner money, cutting the amount of time they spend using energy from the grid.
Launched alongside the Digital Charging Service, BMW will also be offering two new charging wall boxes to i3 and i8 owners. New internals mean they can now handle three-phase charge currents up to 22 kW, helping charge up more quickly. The new top of the range iWallbox Connect has a built-in Wi-Fi connection, making it easier to track how much has been spent on charging, and how much renewable energy is actually being used.
Source: BMWView gallery - 4 images