BMW ChargeForward Incentive Program Opens to BMW Drivers
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BMW ChargeForward Incentive Program Opens to BMW Drivers

Image representing ChargeForward for BMW which shows car charging at a home charging port
  • ChargeForward lets BMW drivers automate their EV charging times to coordinate with peak renewable energy sources. 
  • The program offers cash incentives. 
  • UC Berkeley’s Transportation Sustainability Research Center will analyze the energy use and carbon emissions released during the program. 
  • The program’s goal is to reduce carbon emissions during EV charging sessions. 

When you’re charging your EV, do you know where the electricity is sourced? If you drive a BMW and you take advantage of the ChargeForward incentive program, you would. 

Smart Charging to Optimize Renewable Energy

The smart charging program joins utility companies, automakers, and drivers so they can use renewable energy to charge BMW vehicles. BMW vehicles enrolled in the program will begin charging when the ChargeForward system is alerted that renewable energy is available. 

BMW of North America announced the smart charging service, ChargeForward, in conjunction with the release of the BMW i5, the first all-electric 5-Series sedan.


As an added benefit, the new ChargeForward service lets BMW drivers with 2018 or newer plug-in hybrid and all-electric vehicles earn incentives when they charge their vehicles. The smart charging benefits accrue as drivers charge during the off-peak time with renewable energy is most available. 

If renewable energy is not available, the EV will wait to charge until renewables are available. The ultimate goal is to reduce the carbon impact of EVs that use fossil fuels during the charging season. 

Reducing Carbon Impacts from BMW Vehicles

ChargeForward is already available for some BMW drivers in a handful of states. Utility providers have partnered with the program, and opening it to all BMW drivers will improve their carbon footprints. It will also let BMW drivers support the fluctuations in the electric grid. 

The program is free and only available through the Connected Drive system that will tell the vehicle when the grid has available renewable energy. BMW drivers do not need to add any special hardware to their vehicles.


Thomas Ruemenapp, VP of Engineering for BMW of North America, said about the ChargeForward program, “Empowering our drivers to play an active role in reducing carbon emissions and increasing their renewable energy usage is an innovative way to use vehicle charging to further the environmental benefits of electric vehicles.”

The partnership with BMW of North America gives the charging program the data it needs to see how EVs use the electric grid and affect carbon emissions. As the program grows, BMW plans to work with two other EV manufacturers and the ChargeScape program to connect more utilities and reduce the carbon impact of EVs all over the United States. 

What Happens When You Sign-Up for ChargeForward

The ChargeForward program sets a charging schedule that aligns with the lowest carbon intensity. Drivers who shift to the automated charging schedule will earn incentives. EVs on the schedule will begin when renewable energy is available, and they will stop charging when customers have the energy they need for their daily driving. 

Drivers can choose from two incentives: 

  • Cash incentives for up to 10 smart charges monthly. 
  • Quarterly Carbon Dividend cash incentives based on customer participation and carbon reductions. 

UC Berkeley’s Transportation Sustainability Research Center will track the carbon emissions reductions from this program. BMW is also partnering with WattTime, a non-profit group that analyzes data from the electric grid to calculate electrical grid use around the US. 

ChargeForward is also partnering with the following utility companies:

  • PG&E in Northern and Central California
  • Duke Energy in Charlotte, NC
  • DTE in Detroit, MI
  • Xcel Energy in Colorado
  • SMUD in Sacramento, CA

BMW Changing the Way Drivers Charge Their EVs

BMW expects more utility companies to join the program as more BMW drivers use it. BMW has also partnered with six other automakers to build a powerful and reliable charging network in the US. 

The automaker is also adding a Plug & Charge feature to new BMW models, so they no longer have to use a separate app to access electricity at Electrify America stations. BMW is also adding Shell Recharge as a charging partner, giving BMW drivers access to over 100,000 public charging stations, all through the MyBMW App. 



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