IBM, Honda, and PG&E Collaborate on Smarter Electric Vehicle Charging

ARMONK, N.Y., April 12, 2012 /PRNewswire/ – IBM (NYSE: IBM) today announced that it has teamed with American Honda Motor Co., Inc. and Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) on a new pilot project that will allow communication between electric vehicles (EVs) and the power grid.
This project will demonstrate and test an electric vehicle’s ability to receive and respond to charge instructions based on the grid condition and the vehicle’s battery state. With visibility into charging patterns, energy providers will have the ability to more effectively manage charging during peak hours and create consumer-friendly programs to encourage electric vehicle adoption.

The energy requirements for electric vehicles will challenge the current power grid as plug-in vehicle counts continue to grow to an expected 2.9 million worldwide by 2017. This project has the potential to ease the infrastructure and consumer concerns associated with the mass adoption of EVs, by adding another layer of agility to the EV charging process. This level of intelligence will help make charging seamless for consumers, while ensuring the electricity source is reliable and the infrastructure is stable.

This demonstration combines grid and vehicle data to create an individualized charging plan for Honda’s Fit EV battery electric vehicles (BEV), using IBM’s cloud based software platform. By utilizing the existing in-vehicle communications system in the Honda Fit EV, the electric vehicle can interact with utilities and the grid, creating a direct channel for sending and receiving usage information that could improve local grid management.

This project along with the recently announced EKZ Smartphone Application (app) pilot will help engage consumers and encourage more drivers to “plug in.” The smartphone app shows the vehicles battery level, range of travel distance, vehicle location, and current energy costs in real time. This technology coupled with the ability to communicate directly with charging stations via a GPS system, will offer consumers a uniquely “connected” driving experience.

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