General Electric, together with Con Edison and researchers at Columbia University, is working on a way to use Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition software to help operators of public EV chargers avoid expensive demand charges from utilities.
The GE team has developed an EV charging station that uses software to estimate how much electricity will be needed, and when, and then delivers only the required amount. The system keeps track of energy consumption and forecasts future usage, taking into account things like the day of the week, holidays and weather conditions. It then devises a scheduling system to keep peak usage rates low.
GE has deployed a pilot system consisting of five charging stations at a FedEx depot in New York, and plans to apply the lessons learned to larger charging operations. Based on computer simulations, the team estimates that a location with 100 charging stations could save $10,000 per month in power bills. It’s also working on incorporating V2G technology into the system.
The goal is to “spread out the charging and put it into the most opportune times of the day,” says Matt Nielsen of GE’s Global Research Center. “We thought vehicles would require a lot of energy, so time duration of charging would be a lot longer.” However, the researchers have found that there’s a lot of flexibility as to when a vehicle needs to be charged, and thus plenty of potential for savings.