Adam Langton is the U.S. Energy Services Manager for BMW of North America, LLC. In this role, Adam develops digital energy products related to BMW’s electric vehicle models, including smartphone functionality, data tools, and fleet management services. Adam leads a BMW team developing and implementing the BMW ChargeForward smart charging program and leads BMW’s efforts to provide sustainable energy for BMW electric vehicle drivers in the US.
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John: Welcome to another edition of the Impact Podcast. I’m John Shegerian and I have a very special guest with us today. We’ve got Adam Langton. He’s the US Energy Services manager for BMW of North America. Adam, welcome to the Impact Podcast.
Adam Langton: Thanks for having me, John.
John: It’s so great to have BMW on the show. It’s an honor. I’ve owned BMWs during my lifetime. Our families owned them. They’re wonderful automobiles. And we’ve had the other car companies, many other car companies, auto companies on our show over the last 17 or so years or 60 or so years. This is BMW’s first turn at the wheel so we’re so grateful for your time today, Adam.
Adam: Great. Well, yeah. Again, thanks for having me.
John: Yeah. And before we start talking about all the important work you’re doing at BMW with your colleagues, can you share a little bit the Adam Langton story? Like how do you even get here?
Adam: Sure. So I’ve been with BMW since 2015. And prior to joining BMW, I worked for the state of California and I worked on state energy regulations. At the time that I was working for the state, we were working on carbon regulations to hit the state’s carbon targets for 2020. And we also started electric vehicle programs and policies to support electric vehicle adoption and that was my first kind of exposure to the EV space. And I thought it was a really exciting area and really enjoyed my time working for the state. But I was also interested in kind of exploring more on the technology side, opportunities to innovate more. And so I had the opportunity to join BMW and join the electric vehicle team here and it’s been great so far. Prior to joining the state of California, I went to grad school at UC Berkeley. I went to the public policy school and I studied energy and environmental policy. And prior to that, I studied economics at Boston College.
John: Wow! So you’re a bear. A part of your life, you’re a Berkeley bear.
John: Now, this grew up on the East Coast or West Coast?
Adam: So I grew up in St. Louis Missouri.
John: Wow! Right in the middle. So, when you were growing up, was this something that you ever envision up not the EV thing so to speak? But was your family environmentally minded? Was the environment a big deal in your in your household? And then someone or some people in your family or friends or schooling inspire you to get involved with this really Green Revolution?
Adam: Yeah, that’s a good question. I think for me it really started probably around sixth grade. When I was in sixth grade, I started a paper recycling program for my school and so that was a kind of my first experience dealing with environmental issues. And so I set up the recycling bins all around the school, and I collected them and I work with the collector to recycle paper. So that’s my first kind of experience of how you can make a difference in the environmental space.
John: Wait a second Adam, so you’re really an environmentalist, environmental? I mean, you’re back in sixth grade shifting the linear to circular economy in sixth grade? You are one of the real. You were doing this way before it was ever cool to do in the environmental thing. That’s amazing! That’s huge! That’s awesome!
Adam: Yes, so it was something, I’ve always been passionate about and it’s really exciting that I’ve had the opportunity in my career to what I think is have an impact on these issues. And and I’m really excited about where we’re headed in California and in the rest of the world to make a cleaner Planet.
Adam: Yeah. And then so, California of course just like the United States has its inherent challenges and and paradoxical issues that sometimes make us all little nuts but as the green economy goes, as California goes so does great parts of the United States. So we actually get to be a leader in these things, so thus the fun part. You get to be really as both a public policy person and now as a corporate executive, you get to really shift the change.
John: That’s exciting.
Adam: Yeah. So it’s nice to be on the kind of the bleeding edge of that… [crosstalk]
Adam: … And it’s a great learning experience. So, I think we can have a real impact.
John: So talk a little bit about you know, unwrapped your title, US Energy Services manager from BMW of North America. What does that specifically mean? What falls under your bucket of duties and things that you’ve been tasked with accomplishing?
Adam: Sure. So what we’re trying to do, what my role is to look at our Electric Vehicle products and figure out energy services and products related to our electric vehicles that can help create sustainability benefits or creates savings for our customers making their energy usage cleaner and also making it less expensive for them. So, looking at these kind of things right around the Electric Vehicle, things like smart charging, we’ve explored stationary storage renewable energy partnerships. So those kind of areas where the vehicle touches the grid, the electric grid. How can we help use our Electric Vehicle products to make the grid more sustainable and reduce costs for utilities and our drivers as well?
John: Got it. So, talk a little bit about one of the greatest problems, but in terms of the adoption of the whole EV revolution has been this whole thing about distance anxiety? Range anxiety? Are we improving with regards to both the cars range limitations? And also more, more charging stations? So are those two trends coming together to give people more comfort on this range anxiety or where are we in that whole evolution of range anxiety lessening and lessening and more people adopting these wonderful EV cars?
Adam: So, one of the biggest challenges for EV adoption is range anxiety from car buyers. So we’re seeing two things happen. One thing is that the vehicle range is increasing for a lot of the vehicle products being offered. For example, here at BMW, we released two vehicles this year that have over 300 miles of range… [crosstalk]
Adam: … For there EVC, RIX, which is our SUV and also RI 4, which is a Sedan, and both of those have over 300 miles range. So, this is now, as the batteries get larger customers, get more and more comfortable that they can meet their trips, their travel requirements using vehicles that were selling, that’s part of it. The other part of the equation is getting more and more infrastructure available, out in our communities, out on our major travel corridors so that people have the opportunity to make longer trips. But also a big part of that is that people feel more comfortable purchasing the vehicle in the first place, knowing that, that infrastructure is out there, gives people more comfort to say, I’m going to, I can now buy this vehicle because I know that I’ll have a place to charge. Well, we often find is that, there is the perceived need for infrastructure is higher than the actual need. So the sense of what people think they’re going to need before they buy the vehicles, a lot higher. So they need to see that infrastructure out on the roads in their community before they buy the vehicle. And then when they actually to buy the vehicle, well, what they find is that they can meet a lot, most of their trips by charging at home and that they actually don’t need infrastructure out in the community as much as they think they’re going to need. But because this is something that impacts their decision to buy the vehicle, it becomes really important to support EV adoption to get that infrastructure out on the roads.
John: And this is where I have abject ignorance, Adam. And I wish I didn’t because this is such an important issue. Who is in charge and how much are the auto manufacturers involved with the infrastructure build out of all these EV charging stations?
Adam: So, most of the infrastructure build out is happening by third-party companies that are building infrastructures through their networks. They set up a network of charging stations. For our part as an OEM, what we do is we partner with different network providers, so that we can offer our customers access to those charging stations. Many cases for free or at a discounted rate. And so we offer that when somebody buys a new vehicle and that’s something that then helps give them confidence that they’ll be a lot of charging stations available to them.
John: Understood. So it’s almost like the beginnings of times when one of the vehicles force hit the streets and gas stations were set up, these charging stations are now being set up, similarly by third- parties, who then your interconnecting with.
Adam: Yes. And there’s an important role in this, is funding from the State and Federal Government in California. The State of California has funded a lot of infrastructure both directly but also through utility partners, who helped grow the infrastructure network. And at the Federal Government, there’s new money available to States to build their infrastructure. So that funding, which is commonly available in the past year, is going to be really critical for this next wave of EV adoption. Where looking at more and more drivers and they are more sensitive to range anxiety than the early adopters who were
excited about the technology and maybe very excited about the environmental benefits.
John: And again, this goes back to just my voids of knowledge. If I own 10 gas stations here in the Central Valley of California, why wouldn’t I take one or two of my pumps and make them electric pumps now electric stations so in that way I could service my gasoline customers and also my EV customers? Is that not also happening? Or is there any hybrid stations evolving as well?
Adam: We’re seeing things like that. People are exploring that model. There are challenges to that, though. The challenges, if you’re a gas station, you’re cool. And you want to build a charging station. You’re probably going to need to build a fast charging station, something that can charge a vehicle at 100, 200, 300 kilowatts, which is a pretty high rate, that’s equal to dozens of houses, that consumption from dozens of houses. So what you’re going to need to do then is that utilities going to need to have a service to your gas station, that can power a high power station, that can be expensive, that can be changes to the electric grid that need to happen. So that’s one part of it that we need to address, that’s not easy. And it can be a significant investment, that investment could be paid for by the utility, could be paid for by the gas station. Some of that, in that split is something that needs to be sorted out over time. That’s part of it. The other challenge is that, a gas station is used to serving in a customer in under two minutes. So, I guess… [crosstalk]
John: Like, why?
Adam: … Somebody pulls up and they’re able to charge their vehicle in a minute or fuel their vehicle with gasoline in a minute or 2. EV charging takes longer than that. Even the fast charging stations that I’m describing would still take 30 minutes or more in many cases to get a vehicle that’s completely empty. So now it’s a different experience. It’s not somebody just pulling up a couple minutes and on the way, they’re going to be there for a longer period of time. So now the question is, what are the expectations for somebody while they’re park someplace 20, 30 an hour long to charge their vehicle? What are their expectations for what they’re going to do? How they’re going to spend their time? And so I think that model is still evolving.
John: Interesting. You know, I said at the top of the show, you know, we have the curse and the blessing of being in California. One of the real blessings, it is our very Green State and we do get to lead on so many of these important issues when it comes to the environmental revolution or whatever, it’s going to be cold in the months and years ahead. But one of the funniest stories of this summer given that I live in Fresno California was probably the hottest summer. I remember, we moved here, Adam in 1996 and this summer we had at least 90 days where was over 105 to 107 degrees, some days that 115. And I remember specifically when it came down in California, that the legislature passed the new regulations when it came to EV cars, that all EV cars in California where going to have to be EV by 2035, if I’m not mistaken. And we were going through one of those summer surges of power and then the Governor came out two days or three days, four days later, I don’t know. It was all, on every tonight show that’s out there. All the pundits had fun with it. And that he said, “okay, now everybody stop using your EV chargers right now, because we’re going through a big surge.” So, we had the paradox that sometimes happens to California, where we’re going through growing pains and living through, and being the leader with regards to EV cars and EV charging stations. But then also having a massive pole on our energy grid. How are we going to eventually, how will this calm down? Or how should I say it, even in a more intelligent way? How will this eventually reconcile itself out? And what do you see? The future? Because you’ve lived on both sides of this equation. Both as a policymaker in California, which isn’t easy because you’re dealing with a lot of people with a lot of opinions, obviously, and also now at a very prestigious and great brand, we’re doing great things to push this EV Revolution, forward being BMW. How was this all going to balance out and lead to a better greener, cleaner future for all of us with less interruptions in power supply?
Adam: Yes, that’s a really important question. First part of it is that I think people asked is like, well, do we have enough energy? Are we generating enough electricity [crosstalk] to support [crosstalk] every vehicle becoming electric vehicle? [crosstalk] And the answer to that is, we can support every vehicle going electric, based on our generation now and the generation that we’re going to be adding over the next few years. [crosstalk] With an important caveat, the important caveat is that, there will be certain times when the grid does not have access capacity, when demand is exceeding supply for electricity and we need vehicles to not charge. So this was an issue particularly at the beginning of September here in California, Northern California, where we had a number of great emergency events for several days in a row, where it was very hot. And when it’s very hot, people are turning on their air conditioning. So, demand for electricity goes up but there’s only so much supply and the demand was great, was getting close to the amount of generators, generation that we had. And what we saw then, we made it through that event without having any blackouts or brown outs to rolling power outages in Northern California. And one of the ways we did that was that the State directed certain entities to reduce their electricity consumption at certain times. One of the partners that helped make that work was BMW. We have a smart charging program that we make available to our Electric Vehicle drivers. Smart charging is where you try to align electric vehicle charging with times when the grid has more clean energy or when an energy is cheaper. But and also avoid charging at times, when the grid has more dirty power or when the grid is congested. And so we have this program that’s in place. And when those events happened, we were able to automatically, digitally direct our vehicles to reduce their charging during those times when liquid was congested. Kind of a way to think about how this works. Just to give you an example, to think of a typical EV driver, who drives home from work. They get home from work, let’s say around 6:00 and they plug in their vehicle. What normally happens is, your vehicle would start charging immediately and then we get full.
Adam: It typical EV based on its typical driving behavior in California, only needs to charge two or three, two to four hours per day, [crosstalk] but if it’s plugging in at 6 p.m. and it’s not leaving until 8:00 a.m. the next day. It’s got 14 hours with which to charge, it only needs to charge during four of those. So we do in our smart charging program, is we actually shifted to the best times to charge. Turns out that in the evening hours, when that person’s coming home at 6:00, that’s one of the worst times to charge your electric vehicle. [crosstalk] The reason for that is that, it’s in the evening, so the solar energy has decreased as the sun is starting to go down but home energy consumption is starting to increase. People are coming home from work there, they’re starting to cook, they’re starting to maybe turn on there air conditions again, using lighting. So their home energy demand is increasing.
Adam: At the same time that our supply of renewable energy is decreasing. [crosstalk] So one of the first things we do in a case like that is we want the person to stop charging in the evening. And so that’s creates a benefit for the grid but then what we also do is we move that charging into the nighttime hours where there’s more wind power available, when power is available more at night in California. So we can identify the hours where there’s more wind power and then get our vehicles to charge during those hours. And so not only is this helping the grid by avoiding the times that are bad. Well, we can actually use this to help the grid accommodate more renewable generation in the future, utilities want to add more wind power. But most of that wind power is available at night and there’s not a lot of new load you can trigger at night. There’s not a lot of shifting that you can do, but electric vehicles are really good at that, because the example I just described where somebody would be very comfortable shifting their power to the late night hours because they know that they can still be full by the time they leave in the morning. So in our program, we actually do all this digitally. We direct the vehicle when to charge by directly communicating our BMW energy cloud communicates directly with the vehicle, directs it when to charge. The driver doesn’t need to be involved in that, they don’t need to wake up in the middle of the night and turn on their vehicle or anything like that. We do that all automatically.
John: So, wait a second. So let’s just talk about this practically and for those who just joined us, for our listeners and viewers who just joined us, we have Adam Langton in here with us today. He’s the US Energy Services manager for BMW of North America and to find Adam and his colleagues at BMW and all the great work they’re doing with regards to energy and EV’s, you can go to www.bmwchargeforward.com. So, let’s talk about a real life, practical situation. I drive home, my wife’s cooking dinner, TV’s on, the air conditionings blaring. And as you said, there’s a large pull now on our home. So I plugged my BMW in but it doesn’t start charging until later that night when I go to bed and all the energy pull is much reduced in my household and the wind power is coming up. So through your network and through your, is it AI technology or is it other type of of data technology? Then you decide when to turn on the charging situation in the homes of the BMW charging the BMW’s that you’ve sold over the course of the years, that’s fascinating. It makes so much sense.
Adam: Yeah. So, how we do that is we partner with utilities and one example of that is we’re partnering with Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) in Northern [crosstalk] California [crosstalk] and they provide us with a projection of renewable energy for the next day. And throughout the day different [crosstalk] times of the day. So we know when there’s more renewable energy and less and we can then use that to figure out the best times to charge our vehicles. We also get customer their rate data from our customers, they provide us with that and we also get information from the wholesale market about conditions in the wholesale grid. So we take all of that into account and then figure out the best times to charge.
John: And Adam, let’s just go through this, just to make it real simple for layman like me. So my friend who owns the BMW in San Diego when he plugs his car in, it might be charging at a different time based upon his utility in San Diego, versus me and Fresno versus you in Northern California.
Adam: Cracks. It’s all specific to where you’re located, the region that you’re located because it has different renewable energy conditions in those different areas. We actually work with five utilities now throughout the United States and the conditions are different with every single utility but having a system like this, the driver doesn’t need to understand that. And our commitment to the drivers, we’re going to have their vehicle full by the time they need to leave on their next trip. So we asked the driver to provide their departure time and then we make sure that their vehicle is full by that time so they don’t have to worry about, you know, whether they’re going to get full or not or what the best times to charges. We take care of all that in the background.
John: Got it. And let’s say, you cover every zip code. So if I own a BMW in Boston I’m cool, have one in Fresno I’m cool, one in Idaho, I’m cool. It doesn’t matter. You cover the whole country right now.
Adam: Well right now we cover five utilities. So five different areas and [crosstalk] so we’re not on across the country yet… [crosstalk]
John: It’s coming?
Adam: … Yeah, it’s coming as we get more utility partners that are interested in working with us, we can start to grow this to more drivers.
John: Got it. And that’s going to be, that’s your goal and that seems to be the trend, right? [crosstalk]
John: People are going to be used this successful and this is what your consumers want, and this is what the utility’s want and the state’s want?
Adam: Yes, we’re planning on rolling out several new utilities early next year. So this is something that’s growing and well we’re seeing that utilities can be great partners on this and they’re starting to see more EV adoption at other parts of the country away from just the West Coast and the East Coast. So we’re looking at adding more utility partners all throughout the United States.
John: And this seems like one of those triple win situations where every stakeholders winning the purchaser of the BMW, the owner, the utility wins, the State wins, everybody wins in this situation, I think so, so they [inaudible] upside here.
Adam: Yeah. So as part of that, utilities can save money and operate their grid more efficiently because we’re able to do this. And what we do is, that savings gets shared between the utility which keeps part of it. And part of it goes to us which we give to the drivers. So we use this to create incentives for our drivers to participate in these programs. And we think that, that then helps motivate them to participate in also rewards them for going electric.
John: Well, so, Adam again, I don’t, I’m embarrassed to say even though I’m in the recycling in the green industry, my home has solar on it, and we’re very green in terms of most of what we do, when I own a hybrid car, not a full EV car. When someone buys a full EV car now in California, BMW like, say, is there an app that gives me to help me with my range anxiety, because I have that same thing that range anxiety that we talked about at the top of the show, is there an app now that our listeners and viewers can download that shows all the EV charging stations throughout the State?
Adam: So as part of the BMW experience, we provide an app to our customers and my BMW app.
Adam: And that app along with the vehicle head unit identifies where the vehicle console and the vehicle identifies can show you on a map where the nearest charging stations are. And so you can use that to figure out where you might need to charge where there’s an opportunity to charge. So that’s all available to our drivers.
John: And where are we in building out that infrastructure now? Are we at the top of the second inning, the bottom of the fourth inning, how is the California EV charging station infrastructure build out going? Because you’ve worn both ads. Now as a corporate executive at BMW but also as a policy maker, are you happy with the trajectory and the velocity of charging station growth or is it’s going slower than you would have thought it would have gone three or four years ago?
Adam: So we’re making progress. I’d still say we’re in the early innings. And we’re starting to get the funding out, to really build this out. There’s still a view specific challenges that we need to figure out how to address. One of the most important I think that we’re going to have to figure out is, how do you get infrastructure into apartment buildings? [crosstalk] If you own your own house and you built by an EV, you can buy an electric vehicle charging station, put it in your garage, you can hire an electrician and they can install it… [crosstalk]
Adam: … That process is pretty straightforward. The processes for permitting that and working with utility on that, I think are pretty well-developed. They work pretty well. [crosstalk] It’s a challenge if you’re in apartment building where you can’t just go into your apartment building garage or parking lot and install a charging station. You need to work with your building to get access to that. In some buildings. You don’t have a dedicated parking spot. So they may just have a lot where everybody parks and they can park wherever they want. That makes it a big challenge for where you would build the charging station. Not also becomes a question of who pays for that, at that charging station and who has access to it. It’s particularly, we end up in that case with a chicken and egg problem. The challenge is somebody in an apartment buildings says, well, I don’t have access to charging so I’m not going to buy the vehicle. An apartment building owner or manager of the building looks around their parking lot and says, well I don’t see any electric vehicles here. So there’s no need for me to build any charging stations. So this is a big challenge that we haven’t exactly figured out how to address. I think we’re going to need to figure out ways that get infrastructure into an apartment buildings before people buy the vehicles or immediately after they buy the vehicles. And that’s going to be a tough challenge to address.
John: That’s fascinating. So either with economic insensitives, being cash or with other tax breaks or other things, apartment buildings owners going to have to be the first movers to then further incentivize the car drivers, your auto drivers to switch over to EV so they can calm down on the ease of access to to the EV chargings grid. Wow! I never thought of that. [crosstalk] Wow!
Adam: It’s particularly significant here in California where I think 40 to 50% of people are renters. [crosstalk] So you have a significant part of the population that doesn’t have the ability to just go home, hire an electrician install a charging station in their garage. They just don’t have that opportunity.
John: I didn’t realize that. That’s a fact. So 40 to 50 percent of California citizens are renters. Wow! So, it does become a huge problem in terms of EV adoption. That’s fascinating. Is it predicted that as California went with 2035, legislation with regards to- all autos will have to be EVs. Do you predict many States? If not all States will follow with a similar mandate?
Adam: It’s a good question. We’ll see how they address this. California’s been kind of ahead of the curve on EV adoption. The adoption rates are much higher here in California than the rest of the country. So I think other States are going to look at their EV adoption rate, their mix of vehicles as well and see what makes sense for them in terms of future targets.
John: How much more is the EV going to be interconnected in terms of supporting the grid and power things in a home in the future? Is it all going to be related to the AI and the utility paradigm that you laid out a few minutes ago? Or they going to be other uses for EVS in terms of home support and the power grid as we evolve?
Adam: That’s a great question. So, the technology that you’re referencing is we call it vehicle to grid technology, where you’re discharging or v2g is the term we use. When you’re discharging the battery of the vehicle onto either to your home or to the grid. [crosstalk]
Adam: So instead of just charging it, you’re actually discharging it and powering other devices. This is an area that is starting to- we’re starting to see more development in it, and it’s something, we and BMW are exploring right now. The opportunity is that as a homeowner, if you ever had a power outage, you could simply then turn on your vehicle and discharge the vehicle and start powering your home appliances. [crosstalk] So there’s a great opportunity there to help people that are maybe live off the Grid or camping on a camping trip or that they have unreliable power available to their house. Another opportunity you could have is that, if you had solar panels on your roof and you had an electric vehicle that could discharge, you could in the future imagine that you could power up your vehicle during the day, when the sun’s out and then at night, your vehicle could be used when it’s parked overnight. And in the evening, it could then power the rest of your devices after the sun goes down. So, there’s a really interesting opportunity for this. There is a lot of challenges to this, but we’re starting to explore. How does that technology work? How could it fit into somebody’s life? What are their expectations for how it would be used?
John: How far away are we from something like this.
Adam: So, I think we’re still learning about how far we are away. I think one of the big questions is, what are the customers expectations for how this will be used? When you’re discharging your vehicle for your home or for other appliances or devices, you’re reducing the range that you have for travel your mobility range. [crosstalk]
Adam: And so what we need to understand then, is the user needs to understand that. They need to understand that as they discharged their vehicle, they’re going to have less ability to travel, at least until they charge their vehicle again. So this creates some challenges for during a blackout or something like that. Where you lose power to your home, your vehicle now has a certain capacity at that point, and as you discharge it, you’re reducing your range, your ability to travel. If you have solar, that maybe just a limited problem until the sun comes up the next morning, but if you don’t have solar, you’re going to have to make decisions about how much power to use at your home and how much to save in your vehicle so that you can travel because you don’t know when you’ll get to charge that vehicle again. So there is a lot of customer education that goes into this. We’ve got to make sure that the customer understands exactly of how the impacts of discharging their vehicle battery onto their home. And I think another factor here that we need to understand is, how does discharging your vehicle battery impact the battery life [crosstalk] of your battery? As you cycle it more and more that where’s the vehicle battery down, any vehicle, any battery for that matter as you cycle it more and more it impacts the health in the long term life of that battery. So I think what we want to understand is what are the expectations from the driver for how they would be using it, and how they want to use their vehicle transportation in that line? And also understanding from the grids perspectives, from utilities perspective. How often are they going to be cycling this battery in order to get value out of it because we can then look at that and figure out how to approach the battery life [crosstalk] from that perspective and then be able to work with the driver, so that their investment in an electric vehicle is protected. And it can be used in a way that serves their mobility needs.
John: Simply put, this is really- you’re creating a whole another- your amortizing the use of the EV BMW and that it’s really becomes backup generation system for the house.
Adam: It can. Yes. [crosstalk] That’s it. We think there’s a really exciting opportunity. We launched a pilot in summer of 2021 in Germany, where we were testing these vehicles on the road, testing our I3 electric vehicle on the road [crosstalk] in Munich, doing this by directional v2g capable vehicles to test how it works. How the electricity full is work from a technical perspective to understand that. And we have committed to working with PG&E to start testing. Doing more testing in that area and learn more about how that works. The utility also place an important role in this because they need to make sure your home is ready to discharge electricity from a device at your home, and there’s also safety issues that need to be addressed. If a utility is working on the lines in your neighborhood, they need to know that there’s not going to be a device that’s going to be putting electricity on to those lines. So there’s safety issues that we want to make sure that we’re coordinating with utilities on as well.
John: You know, switching topics now, besides the five utilities that you have partnerships with across the country, I heard you have other partnerships as well, such as the Agricultural Industries with Straus Organic Dairy Farm. Talk a little bit about other partnerships BMWs put together in other industries.
Adam: Sure. So with smart charging, our goal there was how do we get the EV charging to align with renewable energy on the grid? That was [crosstalk] our specific gold there… [crosstalk]
Adam: … But we also wanted to take that a step further and said how can we bring more renewable energy to the grid that will help our drivers in the long run? If there’s more renewable energy on the grid, we’re going to get more clean charging in the future. And so we looked at different technologies that were available, technologies that could produce electricity and help reduce carbon emissions. And one technology really stood out for us. And that is biodigesters, that generate electricity at Dairy Farms. A biodigester, the way it works is, that you collect the manure at your farm and then the biodigester takes the methane from the manure and it converts that into electricity and puts that on to the grid. And we were excited about this technology because
not only is it renewable energy, is creating a new renewable energy source but it’s also reducing methane emissions at the farm. So it actually creates a double emission benefit. And because of this, we think it’s one of the cleanest renewable energy technologies available and it’s also a technology that can really benefit from additional investment and additional opportunities to grow, especially in the state of California. So what we’ve done in the State of California is partnered with Dairies, our first one was the Straus Organic Dairy Farm and we partner with them to generate what’s called low carbon fuel standard credits, which are an environmental credit available in California. And when we generate those credits, we share the value with the farm, and then the value that comes to us, we use it for our smart charging program to create more incentives for our drivers in our smart charging program. So, we started with Straus, that was the first farm where we demonstrated, how this could be done. And then we’ve done two other farms, as well. And one of those farms that we partnered with, our partnership was really critical in demonstrating to their Banks and other lenders, that this was going to be economically viable for them because this partnership enabled them to generate more revenue and that helped make the business case so that they could get the funding in ultimately fund. This was the Bar 20 Farm, which is looking to kind of close to the Fresno area.
Adam: It’s in Kerman California. So it’s in the Central Valley. [crosstalk] So that was another one of our partners and it was critical, that we were excited about was, we were able to help drive the investments in this technology at the Bar 20 Farm. So, not only is this reducing, creating a renewable energy, creating this double emission benefit, but it’s also bringing more revenue into our agricultural communities and helping them be part of the clean energy revolution. So we’re excited about growing this and we’re looking for
ways to start growing that beyond California in the near future.
John: That’s huge. You know, this is such an important topic, Adam and I’m so glad you covered it. What’s next for BMW and sustainability and the green driving realm as a whole, what are you so excited about? That gets you out of bed in the morning, besides the smart charging stations and everything else you’re doing that’s making us a much better in Greener World? What about sustainability and green driving. What’s coming next?
Adam: So at BMW, our sustainability mission is really looked holistically… [crosstalk]
Adam: … At the vehicle and our processes. So we’re not just looking at reducing gasoline consumption to reduce emissions. We’re actually looking at our production processes, the inputs that, the resources, the water we’re using and making our vehicles more efficient and then well, where my component of this is the smart charging. How do we make? Not only is it using electricity, but how do we help it use more clean electricity? So, we’re looking for more and more opportunities like that, that are engaging for the driver, that are meaningful to our customers as well, that we can help make our vehicle the cleanest most sustainable electric vehicle available in the market. So you’re going to continue to see from BMW more innovations than this, where we bring this to more of our drivers. Expand these programs more of our drivers and then look at where we can create even more benefits for our drivers going forward.
John: Well, I want you to come back on the Impact Podcast and share all the new releases that you have, and all the new updates as you evolve with BMW and building out this smart charging grid and doing more to make the world a better place for our listeners and viewers to find out them. And all of these wonderful colleagues at BMW, that are truly making the world a better and greener place. Please go to www.bmwchargeforward.com. Adam, It’s just a delight to meet you. It’s really important that these so many inspiring people like you doing this kind of critical and important work. And I’m so thankful for your time today on the Impact Podcast. And I’m also thankful that you are making the world a better and greener place. Thanks again for joining and I can’t wait to have you back on again in the future.
Adam: Great! Thanks, John. Thanks for inviting me.
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