With standardization on the nation’s mind, BMW, Ford, and Honda have created Chargescape, a platform connecting utilities, automakers, and interested electric vehicle customers. The new equally-owned company hopes to create a cost-effective solution connecting electric utilities, automakers, and interested electric vehicle customers.
The main areas of interest are managed charging and energy-sharing services, which will be offered in the United States and Canada.
BMW, Ford, and Honda intend to leverage years of cross-industry research around the Open Vehicle-Grid Integration Platform (OVGIP) and unlock entirely new value that EVs can provide to the electric grid.
Participating EV customers will be able to earn financial benefits through a variety of new services – including charging in off-peak demand periods or when a surplus of renewable electricity is available. They will also be able to avoid peak demand periods to improve grid resilience. In the most advanced vehicle-to-grid (V2G) application, it’s expected that electric vehicles will be able to send power back to the grid if needed.
The three manufacturers say that the closing of the transaction and subsequent formation of ChargeScape is pending regulatory approvals, with the company expected to become operational early next year. Once this happens, the founding members will invite other automakers to join the project.
With a single platform connecting utilities, automakers, and EV users, the industry will eliminate the need for individual integrations between each automotive brand and electric utility. Of course, the main question is whether other automakers will be willing to adopt ChargeScape’s solution to create a new industry-wide standard.
Electric utilities might be interested in the ChargeScape platform because, through partnerships with automakers, they will gain benefits from direct, multi-channel communication with EV customers. With communication on the car level (through automaker telematics), managed charging services might be provided without requiring Wi-Fi-enabled charging stations.
Thomas Ruemenapp, Vice President of Engineering at BMW of North America, said:
“Electric grid reliability and sustainability are the foundation for an EV powered future. ChargeScape aims to accelerate the expansion of smart charging and vehicle-to-everything solutions all over the country, while increasing customer benefits, supporting the stability of the grid and helping to maximize renewable energy usage. We’re proud to be a founding member of ChargeScape and are looking forward to the opportunities this collaboration will create.”
Bill Crider, global head of charging and energy services at Ford Motor Company, said:
“Electric vehicles are unlocking entirely new benefits for customers that can save them money while supporting grid resiliency and increase the use of clean, renewable energy. ChargeScape will help accelerate the true potential of the EV revolution by providing significant benefits to both utilities and EV customers through smart vehicle-to-grid services.”
Jay Joseph, Vice President of Sustainability & Business Development at American Honda Motor Company, said:
“As Honda seeks to achieve our global goal of carbon neutrality, we are counting on this platform to create new value for our customers by connecting EVs to electric utilities, strengthening grid resources and reducing CO2 emissions. With automakers accelerating toward the electrified future, we must find solutions like ChargeScape that enable all stakeholders to work together for the good of our customers, society and our industry by enabling greater use of renewable energy for and from mobility.”