Eight of the top global automakers are collaborating with the Electric Power Research Institute, 15 utility companies and Sumitomo Electric to develop a two-way communication platform that would allow plug-in vehicles from all participating manufacturers to communicate with power grids via the cloud.
The new technology, which was demonstrated this week, enables utilities to send a message directly to a vehicle, asking it to stop charging temporarily when a grid is in danger of becoming overloaded.
In a typical situation, a vehicle owner would plug the car in for charging and set a time for departure. If the system detects that pausing the charge would disrupt driver needs it would not stop charging. Otherwise, the charge would pause to conserve power.
Utility companies will offer financial incentives to customers who make their vehicles available, similar to existing programs that offer customers discounts for allowing their AC to be shut down during times of high demand.
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“This first-ever test is a critical milestone as we move forward with our collective goal to advance electrification and boost the environmental benefits that come with that,” said Mike Tinskey, Global Director of Vehicle Electrification & Infrastructure for Ford. “Our intent is to add more capability to this technology so that it may be used broadly in the future.”
“This demonstration represents a major milestone that meets the needs of utilities and equipment manufacturers while simultaneously benefiting electric vehicle owners and electricity users,” said Dan Bowermaster, Manager of the Electric Power Research Institute’s Electric Transportation Program.