Siemens and Duke Energy Demonstrate Lower Cost Smart Charging Technology for Electric Vehicles

Siemens Electric Charging Station

Siemens Energy Management Division has teamed with Duke Energy to demonstrate the results of an 18-month effort to reduce the cost and expand electric vehicle charging technologies.

Held at the Duke Energy Envision Center in Erlanger, Ky., and utilizing a Ford Fusion Energi Plug-In Hybrid, Siemens provided the first Underwriters Laboratories (UL) approved residential electric vehicle supply equipment (EVSE) to demonstrate the ability to monitor status, report energy use, and be controlled locally from the local area network and from the cloud.

Siemens’ EVSE was shown to be accessible by web-connected computers, smart phones and tablets, allowing the EV owner to better monitor the status of the EV charging, schedule future charge events, as well as determine the total kilowatt hours consumed and the cost of charging.

With these technology developments, an EV owner can now better understand exactly what they are spending to charge their electric vehicle, schedule the charging process when rates are lowest, and share their charging experience. Utilities can also take advantage of the technology to offer programs that help manage the time and level of EV charging across the grid to increase grid reliability and efficiency while minimizing peak demand.

“This demonstration marks a turning point for the EV industry and proves the tangible benefits of bringing advanced EVSE technologies into the home and the power marketplace,” said Barry Powell, head of Siemens Low Voltage & Products. “Intelligence in EV charging stations means homeowners can reduce the cost of charging up to 60 percent by automatically charging during low energy rate periods, where such programs are available. Utilities can shift loads off critical peak periods to avoid the need for new generation sources.”

“As EVs gain in popularity, it will be important for both drivers and utilities to have improved information — making charging more available and cheaper,” said Mike Rowand, director, Technology Development at Duke Energy.

Also demonstrated was the ability to monitor and control the EVSE from an OpenADR server. OpenADR is an open standard for Automated Demand Response, allowing utilities to manage grid load resources remotely and automatically. By using OpenADR or by directly accessing the Siemens Cloud, utilities can offer rate programs to EV owners to allow the consumer to charge at highly attractive rates while simultaneously allowing the utility to manage the loads on the grid. By shifting each EV charging event slightly in time, utilities can potentially reduce the peak demand on the grid, which in turn helps to reduce the total amount of generation needed.

The Siemens EV charging station presented at the Envision Center also demonstrated a unique, new industry standard interface designed to allow appliances to work with utility demand response programs. The connection is based on the CEA-2045 modular communications interface standard, introduced in February 2013 by the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA). Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) is assessing the CEA-2045 interface to determine its ability to provide smart grid connectivity standard for water heaters, AC units and other large home energy loads. This Siemens EV charger is believed to be the first EVSE that provides this connectivity. In addition to the CEA-2045 connector in the EVSE, Siemens also demonstrated a CEA-2045 communication module that provides Wi-Fi communications for any CEA-2045 enabled appliance.

The demonstration was funded as part of a grant received from the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability (OE), which supports the development of EVSE’s that are capable of implementing smart charging of EVs, referred to as smart grid-capable EVSE. A goal of the OE Smart Grid Research and Development (R&D) Program is to develop and implement smart grid technologies to support transportation electrification.

In March of 2012, the DOE awarded Siemens a grant to develop a low cost Smart Grid Capable EVSE. Duke Energy and Ford joined Siemens as partners to provide utility and automaker expertise and feedback.

Attending the demonstration were Kerry Cheung from the U. S. Department of Energy, Ted Bohn from Argonne National Labs, and representatives of Idaho National Labs.

The Siemens EV charging station with Wi-Fi connectivity and smart phone application used in this demonstration is expected to be available to the general public in 2015.


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This post was prepared by Solar Thermal Magazine staff.