General Motors is bringing its OnStar-enabled Smart Grid solutions, to one of the largest electric vehicle collaborations to take place within the industry. Eight global automakers, including GM, and 15 electric utilities are working with the Electric Power Research Institute to develop and implement a standardized Smart Grid integration platform.
“One thing that’s missing from most Smart Grid programs is a sense of collaboration,” said Tim Nixon, chief technology officer, Global Connected Consumer, GM. “Companies will showcase a meaningful solution, but without widespread acceptance in the industry, its usability is limited. That’s what makes this partnership unique.”
GM currently offers extended range electric vehicles — the Chevrolet Volt and Cadillac ELR — as well as the all-electric Chevrolet Spark EV. The plug-in electric vehicle market in the U.S. has grown to more than 225,000 vehicles — including more than 63,000 Chevrolet Volts, the best-selling plug-in vehicle in the U.S. since launch in 2010.
“As electric vehicles become more prevalent in the marketplace, it will present some unique challenges and opportunities for utilities who manage the flow of the electric grid,” said Dan Bowermaster, EPRI manager of Electric Transportation. “The focus of this collaboration is to create a standard program that will allow utilities to work with different types of plug-in vehicles to more efficiently manage their demand on the grid.”
For the first phase of the program, EPRI and the participating companies will work to develop a standardized Demand Response solution. Demand Response is the signal a utility sends to an energy management company communicating the supply and demand needs to the electric grid. That company then communicates with designated plug-in vehicles in the area to manage their energy consumption in accordance with the grid’s needs.