General Motors plans smart-grid pilot

General Motors is to launch the first real-world pilot of smart grid solutions for EVs in the US this year, it has announced.

The automaker, which makes the Chevrolet Volt extended-range electric vehicle, said July 19 that "unlike other automakers," it was now moving beyond research and development to deliver the smart grid in the real world.

Names such as Ford and Toyota have already unveiled some of their plans to enable electric vehicles to interact with a so-called "smart grid" which would be capable of smoothing electricity supply during peak period to deliver a more efficient system, viewed as the next step for electricity distribution.

However, General Motors OnStar will connect Chevrolet Volts to electricity suppliers from this quarter, beginning with the vehicles which have been leased by employees of regional utility firms.

In the future, the information will lead to lower electricity bills for users, as utilities will be able to reduce peak demand by remotely switching EV charging to non-peak hours, in the same way that customers in the US can opt to allow utilities to kill their air conditioning when electricity demand is high.

The service is being offered by an OnStar package called Advanced Telematics Operations Management System (ATOMS), which the firm says will give customers the option to allow data to be shared with the utilities.

Last month, both Google and Microsoft killed off their home power management solutions (Power Meter and Hohm respectively), ending a partnership which had seen data from Ford integrated into Microsoft Hohm.

In a CNET article, Adrian Tuck, the CEO of smart-grid company Tendril, said that both companies had made the mistake of trying to circumvent utility firms, an error OnStar seems keen to avoid.

http://www.onstar.com/

 

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