PJM Collaborates With BMW on ActiveE Project

PJM and BMW North America are collaborating on an advanced technology demonstration project showing how BMW electric vehicles can communicate with the power grid using a new communications technology and newly adopted industry Smart Grid standards.

As part of the project, PJM will work with two ActiveE fully electric vehicles provided by BMW of North America. The cars will be used for smart charge testing, employee driving, demonstrations and educational purposes. One ActiveE vehicle currently is on the PJM campus and a second car is expected in the near future. The ActiveE, like most fully electric vehicles, is a commuter car offering drivers between 75 and 100 miles of range on a fully charged battery pack. Outside temperature and driving speed, among other factors, can affect the range. It is a two-door, four-seat vehicle with rear-wheel drive and a 125-kilowatt (kW) electric motor.

The ActiveE is charged through a 6.6-kW onboard charger. When plugged into a 240-volt charging station, the vehicle will fully recharge from “empty” in four to five hours. In comparison, charging the vehicle overnight for eight hours from a 120-volt standard outlet in the home will charge the vehicle for approximately 25 miles of range. PJM will have dedicated parking spots with 240-volt charging availability.

The EPA rates the ActiveE’s combined driving “gas mileage” at 102 miles per gallon equivalent (107 city, 96 highway). For example, if the ActiveE’s driving efficiency is four miles per kilowatt-hour (kWh) of electricity usage and the cost of retail electricity is 16 cents per kWh, it will cost four cents to drive one mile.

As a comparison, a 30-mile-per-gallon vehicle using gasoline that costs $3.60 a gallon will cost about 12 cents a mile. Although exact numbers and assumptions can differ, on average, the fuel costs for electric vehicles are expected to be about one-fourth to one-third the cost of using gasoline.

Earlier this year, BMW, along with seven other U.S. and German automakers, announced support of a International Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) standard combined charging system integrating one-phase AC-charging, fast three-phase AC-charging, DC-charging at home and ultra-fast DC-charging at public stations into one vehicle inlet. The connector uses the HomePlug Green PHY communication protocol to communicate between car and charging station.

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