Tesla and BMW Battery Packs to the Rescue?


An interesting EV development was recently announced with BMW and Pacific Gas Electric on a energy demand pilot program involving i3 owners in northern California, called the BMW i ChargeForward Program. The project will allow PG&E to stop i3 vehicle charging during peak demand hours, and will also roll out a another test with i3 battery packs for stationary energy storage.

The stationary battery pack part peaked my interest due to recent comments from Tesla’s Director of Powertrain Business Development, Mateo Jaramillo, on a recent Energy Gang podcast found here on Teslarati.

From this live podcast, an audience member posed a question to Jaramillo about the likelihood of used battery packs being used in stationary storage application seven or eight years from now.


Li-Ion 18650 cells used by Tesla Model S battery pack.


“So will a used EV battery in seven or eight years be cheaper, more cost-effective to integrate into whatever application you’re trying to get into than a brand new battery in that year, says Jarmamillo. “Right now, the answer doesn’t look like to be yes.”

This comment leaped out to me, as some EV and Tesla owners have imagined that their battery pack could be reused in some sort of green energy storage solution.

For BMW, it seems there are two things at play here: 1) PG&E may need to built out its transmission technology and “smart” communication components and needs a partner 2) BMW may be doing some “greenwashing” with this energy storage project or it may see this as “home-grown” energy gap solution in California?

Tesla Motors green perception is strong in the U.S. and BMW would like to eat at that table a bit more, especially when Tesla Motors touts the Gigafactory as  net-energy zero plant. (See: Can Tesla Power Its Gigafactory with Renewables Alone?)

As an EV enthusiast, I’m stoked to see more pilot projects between energy utilities and automakers, and I would love to see a “space race” between BMW and Tesla for the next ten years.

If you missed the Energy Gang podcast, click here to listen to a great discussion about stationary storage and how transformative solar and electric cars could be to dramatically reduce global warming.

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