BMW Group, Ford Motor Company and American Honda Motor Co. Inc. have agreed to form and co-own a to serve as “a single, cost-effective platform connecting electric utilities, automakers and interested electric vehicle customers,” further demonstrating the necessity for North American automakers to insure the viability and functionality of the EV market they are establishing with their vehicle platforms.
The three automakers’ capital investment in the new business was not announced. Pending regulatory approvals for the project, they expect the company to be in operation by early 2024.
ChargeScape, LLC – as the new business is called – will benefit EV customers and electric utilities in the U.S. and Canada by eliminating the necessity for individual integrations between each automotive brand and each electric utility. The platform will allow EV customers to earn financial benefits through various managed charging and energy-sharing services; and it will give electric utilities access to battery energy across a wide pool of EV models.
EV customers also will be able (eventually) to share energy stored in their EV batteries with the grid during times of peak demand through vehicle-to-grid (V2G) applications.
ChargeScape will allow the users to provide secured energy data to electric utilities and system operators like aggregated demand response, aligning charging and EV battery utilization with off-peak, low-cost hours, and the availability of high renewable energy. “Due to the efficient integration with participating automakers and the anticipation of high levels of EV customer enrollment, these energy services are expected to be a cost-efficient,” according to their joint announcement.
“Electric grid reliability and sustainability are the foundation for an EV powered future," stated Thomas Ruemenapp, v.p. - Engineering, BMW of North America, LLC. “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."
While all the major automakers have embraced battery-electric and hybrid electric vehicles in their future model designs, they also have begun to establish parallel products and services to give confidence to prospective EV buyers.
Recently, Ford embraced the mostly established NACS charging standard (a Tesla product) for its EVs, and was followed by General Motors and most other automakers in that decision. Earlier this summer, BMW and Honda, and five other automakers, allied to build a North American fast-charging network, projecting over 30,000 charge points.