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IBM has teamed with ESB ecars to implement a fully integrated smarter charging IT system designed to help manage electric-vehicle (EV) public charge points, which are being rolled out across Ireland by ESB ecars.

The companies say the project will provide utilities with access to energy-usage data that can help improve smart grid operations, reduce power strain during peak charging times, and ensure reliable energy distribution to customers, the companies say.

ESB Networks will use IBM's Intelligent Electric Vehicle Enablement Platform to provide the services needed to operate and manage the 1,000 public charge-points installed throughout Ireland.

The platform will connect ESB Networks with the energy retailers and the charge points, allowing all three to communicate energy usage and financial data directly. This will provide the analytics and intelligence needed to better forecast and balance the load on the power grid, as well as help ESB Networks monitor the health and status of the charge points in order to ensure service reliability.

"Infrastructure readiness and consumer acceptance are and will continue to be imperatives to the success of electric vehicles; however, the industry must now focus on the management aspect,” explains Allan Schurr, vice president of strategy and development for IBM’s Global Energy and Utilities Industry segment.

“For utilities, this project tackles both front- and back-office operations by addressing business services - such as billing - yet, at the same time, also provides continued access to real-time data needed to monitor and forecast the impact on the grid,” he adds.

Additionally, the project will create a scalable payment transaction platform for utilities and consumers by combining financial, settlement and management services, IBM says.

The IBM EV platform will enable EV drivers to select convenient payment options and access all charge points using one ID card - a process that the companies say will aggregate usage costs and simplify billing. This smart charging capability allows consumers to charge anywhere at any time, regardless of their electricity provider.

Drivers will also have the option to use a mobile device or browser to locate the nearest charge post, check its availability and make a reservation if the post is available.

The project is driven, in part, by Ireland’s goal to have 10% of vehicles be electric by 2020.


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