GM powers up smart grid electric vehicle pilot

21 Jul 2011

OnStar, the General Motors vehicle communications subsidiary, is gearing up to launch a real-time pilot of how electric vehicles can use smart grid solutions via the Chevrolet Volt.

GM says this pilot will pave the way for utilities to increase energy efficiency and offer lower charging costs to customers, as it will tap into how electric vehicles can work with the smart grid to charge their batteries during off-peak times, as well as looking at the potential to give energy back to the grid.

Hundreds of employees of regional utilities in Raleigh, North Carolina, will drive leased Chevrolet Volts as their everyday vehicles and participate in the pilot starting this quarter.

“Through this pilot, we will see real-time results on how intelligent energy management can maximise EV charging efficiency and minimise the electric bill for EV drivers,” said Nick Pudar, OnStar vice-president of planning and business development. 

Via OnStar’s Advanced Telematics Operations Management System (ATOMS), GM says utilities will be able to accurately monitor and manage the energy used by vehicles.

GM says the pilot will give utilities better insight for forecasting demand, setting rates and determining the best location for charging infrastructure.

The Detroit-based automaker has not revealed a date for when its technology will transgress from the pilot stage, however.

Photo: OnStar utility grid depiction. Image courtesy of GM

Carmel Doyle was a long-time reporter with Silicon Republic