Posting in Energy
Honda, IBM, and a major utility has joined forces to solve the issue of what happens when many people with electric cars decide to plug-in at the same time.
Stakeholders from automakers to utilities are planning for a future where more households own electric vehicles. A pilot project is now underway to develop new technology that will uphold the power grid's reliability when it's time to plug in.
American Honda Motor Co., IBM, and Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) are jointly working on a pilot project, announced today, to test "smart" charging solutions to manage electric vehicle charging. Think of it as energy rationing.
"Rationing" might sound harsh, but today's power grids simply cannot handle an influx of EVs plugging in during peak hours. The solution manages charging for each vehicle taking battery state and grid conditions into account. It also aims to make it easier to find a charge while on the road.
"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, senior director for consumer products for 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."
Big Blue is handling the software side of the solution. IBM is developing a cloud-based application that it is calling an "Electric Vehicle Enablement Platform." The platform communicates with PG&E systems and guides drivers to the nearest available charging station when the time is right for a refill.
Energy management is a strategic business for IBM, which now has 150 smart grid engagements worldwide. It chose to highlight energy technology initiatives at its centennial celebration last year. IBM is a sponsor of SmartPlanet.
Related on SmartPlanet:
- IBM celebrates centennial with a focus on progress
- DOE: Wireless car charging is the future
- With wireless power, charge your EV while driving
- Wireless charging coming to the Nissan Leaf
- Qualcomm enters cable free charging fray
- Recharge an electric car without plugging in
Apr 12, 2012
Coming to a community near you, courtesy of progressive thinkers who like to control other people's behavior.
- - People in the second camp will buy an electric vehicle or hybrid and install as much solar equipment possible to get completely off the public grid. - - Only because the going price of EVs ensures that EV buyers are in the wealthy 1 percent that can afford to install solar. What are the rest of us supposed to do when EVs are mandated by a dictatorial government like California wants to do?
Like all bureaucracies, the electrical power monopolies want to continue their parasitic ways, and why not? Why should they install alternative power generation when it's profitable not to. Hey, this is America, the land of profit. Right? What's more important than profit? (listen carefully to your silent inner answer) Okay, if you said, "nothing is more important than profit" then you're in one camp, and you want the bucks now at any cost and hurry up about it too, because you want to get home to see tonight's American Idol and Reality TV. If you said, "the health of America" then you're in the other camp, and you want to do what works for your family, friends, community, city, state, and nation. People in the first camp will buy a 20 MPG SUV and worry that those "solar" people will put "undue" demand on the electrical grid. People in the second camp will buy an electric vehicle or hybrid and install as much solar equipment possible to get completely off the public grid. Simplistic? The first camp will say yes. The second camp has a meta view.
Ultimately, some centralized authority will be tasked with deciding which cars will be allowed to charge faster than others, if at all. Like I said a week or two ago regarding the "smart grid"; ultimately it means unreliable electricity for ordinary consumers who are used to on-demand power. In the 3rd world, power is unreliable because of poverty, incompetence, or both. In America, it's going to be on-purpose. It's going to be ironic if I end up having to charge my electric car with electricity from my own natural gas-powered generator.
It is ok when you see only 2,200 Volts sold in March. Many EV supporters cringe at such low numbers, but the reality is the nations power grid cannot handle a sudden surge of EVs if they started selling 20,000 a month. It is a work in progress. Let it happen naturally.
Ultimately smart grid means those with the ability to shift their power use to off peak times will do so, for better rates. Will you really need your car to start charging right at 6 when you get home? What if it costs half to have it start charging at 11 if it still is full by the time you leave in the morning? I really doubt there will be loss of power at peak times due to the smart grid, but pricing may go up even more at peak times. That's why solar makes so much sense in areas that are dependent on air conditioning, peak output matches up with peak demand.
...regarding the future of "base load" power. The problem with "green" power is that it is inconsistent and unreliable, requiring utilities to maintain 100% of the base-load capacity on-line as they do now, which pretty much wipes out most of the greenness of "green" power. So they envision the "smart grid" not only to be able to set rates, but also to be able to reduce the amount of base-load capacity on-line all the time. The "smart grid" as it is actually intended will have the capacity to not only set rates, but to control use of power when demand otherwise exceeds 100% of what is available. That means for somebody, no A/C on hot August afternoons and no car charging when they might otherwise need it. This is the aspect of the "smart grid" that they don't like to talk about out loud, for obvious reasons.