The Car and Truck Fleet and Leasing Management Magazine

Plug-In Manufacturers, Utilities Working Together on 'Smart Grid'

July 29, 2014

Photo: David R. Tribble/Wikimedia Commons
Photo: David R. Tribble/Wikimedia Commons

Eight global automakers and 15 electric utilities are working with the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) to develop and put into effect a standardized “Smart Grid” that will help manage demand as plug-in vehicles gain in popularity.

"As electric vehicles become more prevalent in the marketplace, it will present some unique challenges and opportunities for utilities who manage the flow of the electric grid,” Dan Bowermaster, EPRI manager of Electric Transportation, said. “The focus of this collaboration is to create a standard program that will allow utilities to work with different types of plug-in vehicles to more efficiently manage their demand on the grid.”

As the first phase of the program, the institute is working with the other stakeholders to develop a “demand response” solution. It would allow an energy management company to communicate with designated plug-in vehicles to control their energy consumption based on the grid’s supply and demand.

Through its On-Star division, General Motors has a Smart Grid solution that it will bring to the larger group.

The goal of the program is to create a cloud-based, central server that could handle requests from utilities and allow them to be relayed and understood by vehicles built by all manufacturers.

Other automakers involved in the effort are American Honda Motor Co. (Honda R&D Americas, Inc.), BMW Group, Chrysler Group LLC, Ford Motor Co., Mercedes-Benz Research & Development North America, Inc., Mitsubishi Motors North America, Inc., and Toyota Motor Engineering & Manufacturing North America, Inc.

Utilities working on the project are Austin Energy; CenterPoint Energy, Inc.; Commonwealth Edison; ConEd; CPS Energy; DTE Energy, Duke Energy LLC; Manitoba Hydro; Northeast Utilities; PJM Interconnection; Pacific Gas & Electric Co.; San Diego Gas & Electric; Southern California Edison; Southern Co., and the TVA.

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