BMW, Ford, and Honda form new company streamline electrical grids, invite other automakers to join

Three major automakers have come forward and announced an equally-owned company focused on creating a single, cost-effective platform to connect EV drivers, automakers, and utility companies. BMW Group, Ford Motor Company, and American Honda Motor Company have partnered up to create ChargeScape, LLC – potentially unlocking new value as an EV owners in North America.

If you didn’t think the world’s largest automakers weren’t taking electrification seriously, this past summer offers plenty of evidence otherwise. While the overall market and EVs especially remains highly competitive, legacy automakers like BMW, Ford, and Honda have been collaborative in the best way.

First we saw a major domino effect in North America after Ford vowed to adapt Tesla’s NACS charging standard which was followed by GM, and pretty much everyone else thereafter. Then, in late July, seven of the world’s largest automakers including the likes of BMW and Honda announced an alliance to build a clean energy-powered fast charger network in North America consisting of over 30,000 new piles.

While many of these companies remain competitors, it has been refreshing to see them join forces to tackle certain hurdles currently facing EV adoption, such as lack of chargers and a universal standard. Another issue currently lurking ahead is the strength electrical grids in North America as EV adooption grows, in addition to a universal platform for utility companies and EVs to communicate with one another.

Today, Ford, BMW, and Honda have announced ChargeScape, which looks to tackle these exact issues for the benefit of all.

BMW, Ford, and Honda look to decarbonize the grid

According to a press release from BMW Group today on behalf of its new partners in Ford and Honda, ChargeScape emerges as a new company that leverages all three companies’ industry experience with the goal of creating an Open Vehicle-Grid Integration Platform (OVGIP).

By creating a single, universal platform, ChargeScape looks to alleviate any need for individual automakers to interact separately with each electric utility. Instead, ChargeScape’s platform would give utility companies managing the grid in North America access a potentially universal pool of energy across EV batteries.

The newly formed company also says it will be able to gather a trove of energy use data from EVs tapped into the grid while charging, providing utilities with precious aggregated information that can be used to improve energy efficiencies and gain a more granular insight on peak demand windows.

Additionally, BMW, Ford, and Honda state that ChargeScape will give more power (literally and figuratively) to EV owners charging at home, including the potential to earn financial benefits by replenishing during off-peak hours. Better still, vehicle-to-grid (V2G) capabilities should eventually enable those EV owners to send the stored energy in their vehicles batteries directly back into the grid, curbing peak demands while potentially putting some money back into consumer pockets.

Add solar technology and home energy storage systems to the equation and the potential for an energy users giving back to their local grids is tremendous. ChargeScape looks to tap into that prospect. BMW North America’s vice president engineering, Thomas Ruemenapp, spoke:

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.

The new business formed by Honda, Ford, and BMW has vowed to also help decarbonize the electrical grid in North America, prioritizing clean energy that comes from renewable sources such as wind and solar. By encouraging EV drivers who own homes to integrate renewables into their charging routines, ChargeScape looks to help lower carbon emissions for all while again, putting more power into the hands of consumers regarding how they obtain, use, and sell their energy. American Honda Motor Co. vice president of sustainability & business development, Jay Joseph also spoke:

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.

Lastly, ChargeScape looks to further collaborate in brining its OVGIP future to life. Ford, BMW, and Honda have offered an open invitation to all the other automakers to join the company to help expedite and unlock its full potential.

Electrek’s Take

This is the news I love to see and to share with all of you.

Here we have an American, German, and Japanese automaker each joining an equally-shared company to promote EV adoption in North America. Granted none of these three are truly direct competitors in most vehicle segments, but remain companies fighting for the wallets of North American consumers.

The idea of ChargeScape is a marvel to ponder and to me, represents a step toward a future in EVs I feel is inevitable. I foresee EV drivers who own homes adopting solar and wind, charging their vehicles using renewables and storing it in the cars and in their home power packs, then gaining access to V2G capabilities (pending lots of permitting, regulation, and legislation I’m sure), and becoming active participants in grid infrastructure rather than mere users.

Giving consumers to ability to sell their excess energy back during peak demands – especially if it comes 100% from renewables, is tremendous – and a universal platform from BMW, Ford, and Honda could truly help expedite that dream. I love the open invite to join too and hope more automakers take notice and offer to help. Looking at you Toyota. Haha, yeah right!

This feels like a win for everyone – except maybe utility companies who are going to lose their monopoly on energy sales, but I think they’ll still fare just fine. Power to the people, baby!