IBM, Honda and PG&E team up to develop smart charging for EVs

The pilot system will let an EV receive and respond to charge instructions based on the grid condition and the vehicle’s battery state, so energy providers can manage charging during peak hours.

IBM, Honda and Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) announced Thursday that they will collaborate on a project that allows communication between EVs and the power grid. The pilot system will let an EV receive and respond to charge instructions based on the grid condition and the vehicle’s battery state, so energy providers can manage charging during peak hours.

This demonstration combines grid and vehicle data to create an individualized charging plan for Honda’s Fit EV, using IBM’s cloud-based software platform. Once plugged into a charging post, the Fit uses its telematics system to send a charge request to IBM’s Electric Vehicle Enablement Platform, where vehicle data such as battery state and grid data received from PG&E is combined to create an optimized charge schedule. Utilities can manage the power used by EVs during peak times by instructing vehicles to delay or adjust charging if required.

The platform can also collate historical EV charging data and create a profile that can be used to forecast the location and duration of EV charge loads. For example, the program can determine how many EVs are plugged in in one neighborhood and the time it will take for each to reach a full charge.

“This pilot project with IBM and Honda will help us demonstrate that third-party providers have the systems and capabilities to help meet some of the challenges that electric vehicles could place on the power grid as their adoption increases in the coming years,” said Saul Zambrano of PG&E. “With updated charging patterns for EVs, we have the ability, if needed, to shift demand to non-peak times to ensure the reliability of the grid so that we can continue to deliver safe, reliable and affordable energy to our customers.”

“The growth and success of EV adoption is reliant upon many factors, ranging from vehicle price and performance, to infrastructure readiness, to the consumer experience – a scope that cannot be addressed by one sole industry,” said IBM VP Allan Schurr. “This project with Honda and PG&E represents a significant step towards building an intelligent infrastructure that integrates capabilities and technologies across three major players.”

 
Image: Honda