A Standard for Smart Electric Vehicle Charging Is On The Way

An open platform for electric vehicle charging will open up the potential for PEVs to become part of the smart grid.
Published: Wed 10 Sep 2014

The US Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) has launched an initiative with eight auto manufacturers and 15 utilities to develop and demonstrate an open platform that would integrate plug-in electric vehicles (PEV) with smart grid technologies, enabling utilities to support PEV charging regardless of location.

The platform will allow manufacturers to offer a customer-friendly interface through which PEV drivers can more easily participate in utility PEV programs, such as rates for off-peak or nighttime charging. The portal for the system would be a utility's communications system and an electric vehicle's telematics system.

The platform should also pave the way for utilities to draw on PEVs as a distributed energy resource to support grid reliability, stability and efficiency, including the provision of ancillary services. With more than 225,000 PEVs and growing on US roads, potentially they could play a significant role in electricity demand side management.

Electric vehicles as a smart grid resource

The platform enables integration across multiple communication pathways, such as automated metering infrastructure (AMI), home area networks, building energy management systems, and third party entities that aggregate energy management services for commercial and industrial power customers.

“A key aspect of the platform's benefits will be giving customers flexibility and choices,” said Dan Bowermaster, EPRI manager of Electric Transportation. “It can help the PEV customer determine the value of using their parked vehicle as a grid resource, and help the industry develop a convenient, user-friendly customer interface. We see this as the foundation for future developments to integrate PEVs with the grid.”

The platform aligns with the Vehicle Grid Integration (VGI) Roadmap Initiative of the California Public Utilities Commission and the California Independent System Operator, as well as conforming with standards set by IEEE, IEC/ISO, SAE and Open ADR Alliance, making it globally applicable.

The participating utilities and regional transmission organizations include DTE Energy, Duke Energy, PJM Interconnection, CenterPoint Energy, Southern Company, Northeast Utilities, Southern California Edison, Pacific Gas & Electric Company, San Diego Gas & Electric, Commonwealth Edison, TVA, Manitoba Hydro, Austin Energy, Con Edison and CPS Energy.

The auto manufacturers are  Honda, BMW, Chrysler, Ford, General Motors, Mercedes-Benz, Mitsubishi and Toyota.

The core platform technology in the first phase of the project will be developed by Sumitomo Electric.

Electric vehicle research & development

EPRI, through its Electric Transportation program, is involved in a number of research and development projects in this area. Among these:

● Development of a DC fast charging technology using fewer components and expected to attain a high system efficiency of 96-97%

● A smart charging demonstration program in collaboration with General Motors to analyze the integration of PEVs with smart grid technologies

● Development in collaboration with Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) of a 10-space public vehicle charging facility that incorporates a PV array on a canopy, complete with battery storage, for PEV charging.

EPRI is also working with shipping, airline and railroad industry leaders including Port Authority of Savannah, Georgia and Southwest Airlines, to better understand the savings, efficiencies and impacts on the electricity grid of using non-road electric vehicles, such as forklifts, cranes and tractors, as part of their respective businesses.