Electric vehicles are becoming a key aspect of smart cities infrastructure. Still, some of the infrastructure that supports electric vehicles -- like charging stations, or vehicle-to-grid functionality -- needs more development.
Siemens has developed the E-Car Operation Center, a solution that enables monitoring and control of the entire EV charging process and infrastructure.
At this week's Siemens Smart Grid Software Leadership Conference, Valerio Pazzini, Global Head for Siemens eCar Solution, will lead a session on Integrating Electromobility within Smart Grids and Smart Cities.
Pazzini offered some context about this developing issue:
How is the electric vehicle market developing in Milan, Italy, where the Siemens eCar Solution division is headquartered?
Pazzini: Here, car-sharing technology is growing fast, and electric vehicles fit in well with that. Like many cities, Milan has placed several restrictions on the use of cars -- you can't take your car everywhere in this city, so it makes sense to rely more on shared vehicles.
What current needs in the electromobility market does the Siemens E-Car Operation Center Solution meet?
Pazzini: This solution enables users, customers, and distribution system operators to connect electric vehicles to the grid, and to manage that load through bidirectional communication. We're partnering with Italy's largest electricity distributor to make this happen.
One way this platform addresses a key market challenge is through its roaming capability. How do users pay for electricity to power the cars they use, and how do utilities and other players handle billing? This capability allows users to recharge their car everywhere regardless of who operates the charging station they're using. It ensures that their account will be properly billed by all the operators involved in the recharging process.
It's the same concept as cash machines: Cash withdrawals are deducted from your bank account, no matter whose ATM you use.
Billing and user account management are important parts of the process for building businesses based on electric vehicles and car sharing. Obviously this will all be built around standards -- in particular, suppliers need to agree on a communication standard for this transactional information. Several standards are popping up, but the sooner we have an agreement on a major standard, the better.
This solution also allows utilities and other operators to configure their recharging infrastructure, by tracking charging locations and displaying their operational state in real time. It also acquires and analyzes diagnostic data of charging stations, and monitors the whole network, allowing optimization of charging resource. And it supports alarm management and all other functions for managing charging infrastructure data, including reservations for charging units, alarm management and more.
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