Published on October 27th, 2011 | by Charis Michelsen1
Remote EV Charging? There’s An App For That (Video)
October 27th, 2011 by Charis Michelsen
IBM Research and EKZ (the electricity utility provider for Zurich in Switzerland) have made maintaining your EV even easier by developing a smartphone application that not only allows users to charge their EVs but also track their energy costs. Information also flows back toward the utility providers, theoretically allowing them to better manage grid loads.
Electric Vehicles Encourage Renewable Resources
The pilot project is still undergoing testing, but it combines a data recording device with a Web-based application. The recording device is installed in the EV, where it (of course) records information – battery charge level, location, power source, etc. – which is then sent to an IBM cloud through a cellular network. It runs on “most” smartphones, tablets, and web browsers, according to IBM, and uses a four-button interface.
The application is designed to allow owners to check on their EV remotely, start vehicle charging, or even program charging to start while the rates are lowest. EV owners can also let their utility provider decide when to charge the vehicle, depending on when electricity from renewable resources is available.
According to Peter Franken, head of the Energy Distribution department of EKZ, the project will also help contribute toward increasing Switzerland’s already impressive proportion of electricity produced by renewable sources (just over 55%, if you’re curious):
“Electric vehicles can be used to buffer the irregular production of electricity from future renewable sources, which will contribute to the overall stability of the electrical network. With this project we can show how electric vehicles can create a balance between supply and demand for smarter energy grids.”
What the Customer Wants
Dieter Gantenbein, leader of the Smart Grid research project at IBM Research in Zurich, feels that the app will encourage the purchase of electric vehicles:
“This service will make electric vehicles more attractive to consumers by taking into consideration their preferences, while still factoring in cost and overall convenience. In this pilot, the real-time analysis of supply and demand together with a control algorithm will create a dynamic incentive for a sustainable way to charge an electric vehicle’s battery, putting us another step closer to establishing a cleaner transport system.”
Apparently there’s nothing that can’t be funneled through a smartphone somehow! Would you use this app? If you could get it, would you be more likely to buy electric? Let us know in the comments, below.