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The Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI), eight automakers and 15 utilities are working to develop and demonstrate an open platform that would integrate plug-in electric vehicles (PEVs) with smart grid technologies.

The partners say 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.

As the electric grid evolves with smarter functionality, the partners say electric vehicles can serve as a distributed energy resource to support grid reliability, stability and efficiency. With more than 225,000 plug-in vehicles on U.S. roads - and their numbers growing - they are likely to play a significant role in electricity demand-side management.

The partners say 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,” says Dan Bowermaster, EPRI’s 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.” 

Utilities and regional transmission organizations participating and supporting in the software and hardware development and demonstration include the following: DTE Energy, Duke Energy, PJM Interconnection, CenterPoint Energy Inc., Southern Company, Northeast Utilities, Southern California Edison, Pacific Gas & Electric, San Diego Gas & Electric, Commonwealth Edison, TVA, Manitoba Hydro, Austin Energy, Con Edison, and CPS Energy.

Automakers are American Honda Motor Co., BMW Group, Chrysler Group LLC, Ford Motor Co., General Motors Co., Mercedes-Benz Research & Development North America Inc., Mitsubishi Motors Corp., and Toyota Motor Engineering & Manufacturing North America Inc.

Sumitomo Electric will develop the core platform technology on the first phase of the project.

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

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