Connecting electric vehicles to the grid intelligently

WASHINGTON, D.C. - GridPoint, Inc., a leading clean tech company whose smart grid software platform benefits electric utilities, consumers and the environment, demonstrated its “smart charging” capabilities at the Electric Drive Transportation Association (EDTA) conference in Washington, D.C.

At EDTA, GridPoint demonstrated the ability to actively manage plug-in vehicle load. In real-time, GridPoint technology will simultaneously manage the power flow to a fleet of plug-in vehicle resources, including a Chevy Volt battery pack located at GMÂ’s Battery Lab in Warren, Mich., and a pool of simulated electric vehicle resources.

“By embedding GridPoint’s software in electric vehicles, we enable utilities to offer reduced charging costs to customers and allow clean energy, such as wind and solar power, to be used as a source for recharging vehicles,” said Tony Posawatz, Volt Vehicle Line Director, General Motors. “Additionally, we help utilities eliminate the need to build new power plants that would otherwise be required to support the mass adoption of electric vehicles.”

GridPoint software enables electric vehicles to be “grid aware,” allowing the timing and pace of charging to be adaptively controlled to meet the needs of both drivers and the grid. Within parameters set by vehicle owners, utilities can charge vehicles in a manner that optimizes the grid – charging when renewable energy is available or when grid energy usage is low; thereby reducing grid stress and carbon emissions. During peak periods, utilities can also control the rate of charging to reduce demand spikes on the grid.

Consumers who enroll in a utility’s charging program could receive significantly reduced charging rates, thereby reducing the cost of “electric fuel” and the overall cost of electric vehicle ownership. Additionally, the promotion of lower electric fuel costs offered by utility charging programs is expected to accelerate electric vehicle sales.

“By planning for the efficient and clean charging of electric vehicles, GM continues to demonstrate its leadership and commitment to the electrification of the automobile,” said Karl Lewis, Chief Strategy Officer of GridPoint. “We are excited to be working with GM and others to provide a comprehensive solution that benefits consumers, the grid and the environment.”

Wide-scale adoption of plug-in vehicles offers the possibility of lower fuel costs, a reduction in the greenhouse gas emissions that cause climate change and an opportunity for greater energy independence. Numerous assessments by the nationÂ’s leading research institutions have supported this optimistic outlook for the impact of plug-in vehicles.

A study by the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) and the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) concluded there is an abundant supply of electricity for transportation, provided there exist “programs to actively manage the charging load. GridPoint’s smart charging software provides this essential active load management capability.

“Our members are committed to advancing plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) and extended-range electric vehicle (E-REV) transportation and the widespread use of electricity as a transportation fuel,” said Mark Duvall, director of Electric Transportation at the Electric Power Research Institute, a nonprofit organization based in Palo Alto, Calif. “We are working to ensure a seamless integration of plug-in electric vehicles into the grid beginning in 2010.”

Leading utilities have initiated smart charging field trials to better understand the impact plug-in electric vehicles will have in their service areas. GridPointÂ’s software is currently controlling the charging behavior of converted plug-in Toyota Priuses and Ford Escapes in projects led by Xcel Energy, Duke Energy, Progress Energy, Austin Energy and Seattle City Light. These engagements originated with Seattle-based V2Green, acquired by GridPoint in September.


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