Electric Vehicles

BMW working to capture the power of cow manure and turn it into EV energy

BMW is partnering with California's farmers to develop clean energy.

Photo courtesy of BMW

BMW is in deep when it comes to electric vehicle development. Now, they're also in deep ... manure. The German automaker is teaming up with California's farmers to harvest manure.

"This collaboration is the first of its kind in the auto industry," said Bernhard Kuhnt, president and CEO, BMW of North America. "It is a perfect fit for the BMW Group, which has long valued creative technologies and partnerships that can contribute to reducing greenhouse gas emissions."

BMW i3 Straus Organic Dairy Farm When owners plug-in to charge, the energy they use may be coming from the remnants of cows' dinners.Photo courtesy of BMW

As part of the new agreement, Straus Organic Dairy Farm, located in Marshall, California, will be using a methane biodigester to capture methane from cow manure, which would otherwise enter the atmosphere. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, about 14 percent of the total greenhouse gas emissions comes from manure from the agriculture sector.

The captured methane from the Northern California farm is transformed into renewable energy that is sent to California's power grid. When electric vehicle owners plug their car in, they could be running on poo-generated energy.

"In addition to being a great collaboration, we are developing the blueprint for a model that can generate revenue for other farmers throughout California," said Albert Straus, founder and CEO of Straus Family Creamery.

The family farm is one of the first steps in BMW's poo-energy procurement plants. "We are well on our way to ensuring that every electric mile driven by BMW and MINI owners in California is covered," said Adam Langton, BMW USA Energy Services Manager.

This methane plan is in addition to the ChargeForward pilot program that currently operates in the San Francisco Bay Area. That program allows owners to charge their vehicles using as much solar energy as possible.

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The 2021 Volvo XC40 Recharge is coming to dealerships soon.

Photo courtesy of Volvo Car USA

Volvo's first fully electric vehicle, the 2021 Volvo XC40 Recharge, is coming to the U.S. with a starting MSRP of $53,990 and a 208-mile range. Those numbers make it more expensive and with a shorter battery range than most electric SUVs on the market today.

Currently, in the U.S., there aren't many all-electric SUV options. The 2020 Hyundai Kona Electric starts at $37,190 and comes with a EPA-estimated 258-mile range. Kia's 2020 Niro EV has a 239-mile rage and starts at $39,090. The 2021 Volkswagen ID.4 is on sale now starting at $39,995 and comes with a 250-mile range. Tesla sells the base grade Model Y $49,990 and has given it a 326-mile range.

2021 Volvo XC40 Recharge

Photo courtesy of Volvo Car USA

Audi sells two electric SUVs, the E-Tron and E-Tron Sportback. Both are larger than the XC40, Kona, and Niro. The 2021 E-Tron starts at $65,900 and has a 222-mile range. The E-Tron Sportback is more expensive, with a starting MSRP of $69,100, and has just 218 miles of range.

Most of the models on the list qualify for a federal tax credit of up to $7,500.

The XC40 Recharge is more premium than most of the models on the list, but its range is bound to be a sticking point for buyers, many of which still have looming issues surrounding the issue of range anxiety.

While its range is lower, the Volvo XC40 features strong powertrain figures. It delivers 402 horsepower and 486 pound-feet of torque.

The model can charge its 78-kilowatt-hour battery to 80 percent I about 40 minutes via a 150-kilowatt DC fast-charger. Volvo has teamed up with ChargePoint for nationwide charging access. ChargePoint offers 115,000 places to charge and gives users the option to purchase a ChargePoint Home Flex home charger when they buy the XC40 Recharge,

Volvo has given the model an Android infotainment operating system. It comes standard with Google Assistant, Google Maps, and the Google Play Store. Updates can happen over the air.

Its list of standard features includes a panoramic sunroof with power sunshade, 19-innch alloy wheels, 12.3-inch driver information display, 9.0-inch infotainment touch screen, dual-zone automatic climate control, four USB-C ports, and a rearview camera.

All Volvo XC40 Recharge models come with blind spot monitoring with steer assist, cross-traffic alert with automatic braking, adaptive LED headlights, lane keeping assist, and more.

To their XC40 Recharge, buyers can add a Climate Package ($750) that includes heated windshield-wiper blades, heated rear seats, and a heated steering wheel. The Advanced Packages ($1,300) adds high pressure headlight cleaning, Pilot Assist driver assistance system with adaptive cruise control, a 360-degree camera, a 12-volt power outlet in the luggage area, and wireless smartphone charging.

Single options include metallic paint ($645), Lava-colored carpet ($100), a 13-speaker Harman/Kardon Premium Sound system ($800), a heat pump ($350), and 20-inch five double-spoke Black Diamond Cut alloy wheels ($800).

Production of the XC40 Recharge is currently underway and it will soon be available in the U.S.

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BMW infotainment systems recently received a major upgrade.

Photo courtesy of BMW

All 2021 model year BMW automobiles will come standard with a free one-year SiriusXM All-Access subscription. The move is part of a larger deal that extends the relationship between BMW and SiriusXM through 2026.

The news comes just weeks after BMW divulged that a long list of its 2021 models will come with SiriusXM with 360L, an audio platform that combines satellite and streaming content delivery into the existing SiriusXM platform. SiriusXM with 360L made its debut in the redesigned 2019 Ram 1500 and after a year of exclusivity is moving into more vehicles throughout the market space.

BMW SiriusXM with 360L BMW will offer SiriusXM with 360L in its 2021 model year vehicles. This is what it looks like on-screen.Photo courtesy of BMW

BMW delivers their customers a premium experience every time out on the road. We're very proud that SiriusXM has been a popular feature of that in-vehicle experience dating back to the earliest days of satellite radio in 2002," said Rodney Pickett, SVP, Automotive Partnerships, for SiriusXM. "Today we are truly excited that our relationship continues to grow, as we announce that SiriusXM will be standard on all BMW Group vehicles, ensuring all of their customers can enjoy our premium programming content for many years to come."

Earlier this year, BMW announced five big updates to its infotainment system. You can find out more about that here.

BMW vehicles with SiriusXM with 360L will be able to receive software updates allowing customers to have accesss to the latest features without having to visit a dealership. The latest offering, Personalized Stations Powered by Pandora, will be part of a future software update. With Personalized Stations Powered by Pandora, drivers can create their own ad-free music stations based on the artist they are listening to, then give songs a thumbs up or thumbs down within the SiriusXM service, or even skip songs, to create their own personal channel that plays more of what they want.

BMW has offered SiriusXM in its vehicles since 2002. It is now standard across the BMW lineup.

"In-vehicle technology and entertainment have become as important to BMW drivers as the performance and handling of their new automobiles." said Monika D. Reimel, Head of BMW Aftersales Business Development. "BMW was one of the first manufacturers to offer SiriusXM in our automobiles and today we are excited to not only include SiriusXM as a standard feature in all of our 2021 models but also combine it with one of the longest initial subscription periods in the industry. This new agreement with SiriusXM offers immediate benefits to our enthusiastic customers."

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