Another Step Forward in the Transition to Electric Cars

Ford plug-in electric vehicle

It’s reality check time for those naysayers out there who insisted that electric cars would remain the toys of the wealthy for the foreseeable future.   Ford Motor company announced yesterday that it is collaborating with  seven of the world’s largest automakers and 15 U.S. utility companies to develop technology for plug-in electric vehicles to talk to the utilities via the cloud – a move that would help manage energy use and improve the efficiency of the power grid.

The pilot program, which the Electric Power Research Institute is also participating in, will create a standards-based communications platform for use by plug-in electric vehicles and the electric grids. This platform will enable the utilities to contact vehicle customers who have opted-in to the program, sending a request for those cars to stop charging temporarily to help manage a grid that is becoming overloaded.

This collaborative effort between the automotive companies, the utilities and the Electric Power Research Institute officially began in 2012 but was made possible by electric car/grid integration research conducted over the last ten years.

Participating utility companies are prepared to offer financial incentives to owners who make their cars available to the grid, similar to utilities offering customers discounts for allowing their home air conditioning to run intermittently during times of high demand. Customers who opt-in to the program can charge their cars at a location of their choice and have the ability to ignore the utility’s request to stop charging.

“This innovative platform provides a critical enabler for the next step in vehicle electrification,” said Mike Tinskey, associate global director, Electrification Infrastructure for Ford. “It’s a way for plug-in electric vehicle drivers to be financially rewarded for their willingness to help manage the electric grid.”

Ford plug-in electric vehicle cloud communicationThe global automotive companies participating in the pilot project are:

  • Chrysler
  • BMW
  • Ford
  • Toyota
  • Honda
  • Mercedes
  • General Motors
  • Mitsubishi

The participating utilities are:

*  DTE Energy Company  * Duke Energy  * PJM Interconnection  * CenterPoint Energy                 * Southern Company  * Northeast Utilities * Southern California Edison  *PG&E                              * San Diego Gas & Electric   *Commonwealth Edison  * TVA  * Manitoba Hydro  *Austin Energy       * ConEd  * CPS Energy

It took time for the infrastructure that supports gasoline powered internal combustion engines to be built when we migrated away from using horses for transportation, the same will hold true for the next great transportation migration.  This project proves that the major industry players are preparing for the age of the electric car.

 

 

 

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This post was prepared by Solar Thermal Magazine staff.