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[Due to the increasing size of the archives, each topic page now contains only the prior 365 days of content. Access to older stories is now solely through the Monthly Archive pages or the site search function.]

Air Force tests all plug-in vehicle fleet in California; part of large DoD V2G project

November 14, 2014

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A fleet of plug-in electric vehicles sits ready to roll at Los Angeles Air Force Base in El Segundo, California. (US Air Force photo by Sarah Corrice/RELEASED.) Click to enlarge.

The Air Force unveiled the Department of Defense’s first non-tactical vehicle fleet composed entirely of plug-in electric vehicles at Los Angeles Air Force Base today. The 42-vehicle fleet marks a milestone in partnership between federal, state and private energy organizations, as well as in DoD’s demonstration of emerging vehicle-to-grid technology.

The PEV fleet includes both electric and hybrid vehicles ranging from sedans to trucks and a 12-passenger van. California energy providers and regulators worked closely with the Air Force on safety and performance testing as well as technical and regulatory aspects of launching the vehicles.

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Nissan begins testing combination of LEAF EVs and “LEAF to Home” for grid demand response services

October 16, 2014

Nissan Motor Corporation has begun testing in Japan of a system to use electric vehicle technology to help power grids cope with peaks in demand.

Nissan is using Nissan LEAF EVs paired with the LEAF to Home power supply system (earlier post) for demand response testing at several of its sales outlets run by subsidiary Kanagawa Nissan Co., Ltd. to assess the effectiveness of EV batteries when used for energy management. The tests are being conducted by ENERES Co., Ltd.

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EPRI and partners to stage public demo of Open Vehicle-Grid Integration (VGI) Platform software

October 14, 2014

The Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI), along with several auto manufacturers, utilities, and regional transmission organizations, will demonstrate the Open Vehicle-Grid Integration (VGI) Platform software system, developed by EPRI and Sumitomo Electric Industries. The software is an advanced software platform for integrating plug-in electric vehicles (PEV) with smart grid technologies. (Earlier post.)

The live demonstration will showcase demand response and load curtailment capabilities through a single standards-based interface. The demonstration will involve 8 EV manufacturers, and attendees will include representatives from the state and federal public agencies involved with clean energy and transportation technologies, as well as the utility and automotive industries.

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EPRI, 8 automakers and 15 utilities to create an open grid integration platform for plug-in electric vehicles

July 29, 2014

The Electric Power Research Institute, 8 automakers and 15 utilities are working to develop and to demonstrate an open platform that would integrate plug-in electric vehicles (PEVs) with smart grid technologies enabling utilities to support PEV charging regardless of location. The open platform will simplify and streamline V2G (vehicle-to-grid) communications, enabling PEVs to provide grid services and increasing the overall value proposition of plug-in vehicles.

The goal of this program is to develop a cloud-based, central server that would receive grid requests from a utility—such as Demand Response—and then translate and standardize that request so it could be relayed to all appropriate plug-in vehicles in the designated area. Automakers would be expected to develop and deploy technologies compatible with these smart grid communications.

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Japan automakers form joint venture to advance electric charging infrastructure: Nippon Charge Service

May 30, 2014

Toyota Motor Corporation, Nissan Motor Co., Ltd., Honda Motor Co., Ltd., and Mitsubishi Motors Corporation have jointly established a new company, Nippon Charge Service, LLC, to promote the installation of chargers for plug-in electric vehicles (PHVs, PHEVs, EVs). The goal is to help build a charging network that offers more convenience to drivers in Japan.

The new company will promote the installation of chargers, for the good of society and to expand the use of electric-powered vehicles. Related industries are also expected to benefit. Development Bank of Japan Inc. (DBJ) will support the joint effort of the four automakers by investing in the new company with its “Fund for Japanese Industrial Competitiveness”.

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The Volvo Group studies potential for dynamic charging for city buses with test electric road

May 19, 2014

The Volvo Group, in collaboration with the Swedish Transport Administration, will study the potential for building electrified roads on which city buses can be charged inductively at the same time as the bus is in operation (dynamic charging). A 300- to 500-meter electric road may be built for test operations in central Gothenburg during 2015.

The Volvo Group will develop a detailed proposal within the framework of innovation procurement from the Swedish Transport Administration. The proposal entails building a road section equipped with wireless charge technology and developing vehicles that will automatically charge their batteries when passing such a road section.

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UC Riverside opening Sustainable Integrated Grid Initiative; integration of solar energy, battery storage and electric and hybrid vehicles

May 15, 2014

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Schematic of the “New Grid Testbed” components, including renewable energy generation, energy storage, smart distribution and electric transportation Click to enlarge.

The University of California, Riverside is opening its Sustainable Integrated Grid Initiative to research the integration of: intermittent renewable energy, such as photovoltaic solar panels; energy storage, such as batteries; and all types of electric and hybrid electric vehicles. It is the largest renewable energy project of its kind in California.

The first two years of operation is supported by a $2-million contract from the South Coast Air Quality Management District, awarded in January 2012. Construction of the initial testbed platform was also supported by an additional $10 million in contributions from UC Riverside and private partners. The testbed, which is located at UC Riverside’s Bourns College of Engineering Center for Environmental Research and Technology (CE-CERT), includes:

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Lord Drayson launches business to commercialize efficient wireless power transfer over distances; ongoing partnership with Imperial College London

May 07, 2014

Lord Drayson has launched Drayson Wireless Limited, a new venture to commercialize technology developed at Imperial College London (ICL) for the efficient wireless transfer of power over longer distances. Working closely with Imperial Innovations plc, Drayson Wireless will rapidly bring the technology to market in numerous applications and sectors.

The Drayson Wireless near-field systems can transfer up to 1.5 kW over a distance of up to 0.5 m using a lightweight receiver weighing less than 0.3 g/W. In addition, Drayson Wireless long distance power transfer system can transfer up to 10 mW at distances up to 5 m. The systems operate at high efficiencies (over 80% end-to-end efficiency), while operating through variable vertical offsets, separation distances and angular misalignments.

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Honda opens Smart Home US in California; produces more energy than it consumes; direct DC-DC EV charging

March 25, 2014

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The Honda Smart Home US integrates a number of technologies, and is managed by Honda’s Home Energy Management System (HEMS). Click to enlarge.

Honda marked the opening of Honda Smart Home US, showcasing technologies that enable zero net energy living and transportation, including Honda’s home energy management system (HEMS), a proprietary hardware and software system that monitors, controls and optimizes electrical generation and consumption throughout the home’s microgrid.

The home, located on the West Village campus of the University of California, Davis, is capable of producing more energy on-site from renewable sources than it consumes annually, including enough energy to power a Honda Fit EV for daily commuting. Honda Smart Home is expected to generate a surplus of 2.6 MWh of electricity over the course of a year, while a comparable home will consume approximately 13.3 MWh. The home’s occupant will be able to use less than half of the energy of a similarly sized new home in the Davis area for heating, cooling and lighting. The home is also three times more water-efficient than a typical US home.

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Ford installing GE WattStation chargers, charging network at facilities

March 20, 2014

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The WattStation Connect network will enable Ford to gather information on charging station use. Click to enlarge.

Ford Motor Company, in conjunction with GE, will supply electric vehicle charging stations at Ford facilities nationwide, beginning with facilities in and around its headquarters. Ford will begin installing the GE WattStation Level 2 charging stations across its North American campuses, developing a workplace charging network at nearly every Ford facility in the United States and Canada.

Ford now offers three plug-in vehicles: the battery electric Focus Electric, and the C-MAX Energi and Fusion Energi plug-in hybrids. Ford Fusion Energi and C-MAX Energi drivers typically make three of their four daily trips in all-electric mode, based on data from Ford’s MyFord Mobile app. Ford estimates that its customers now have logged 65 million all-electric miles, increasing at a rate of 290,000 electric miles per day.

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Researchers developing DC micro smart grid for charging EV fleets; Li-ion, redox flow batteries and renewables

March 07, 2014

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Up to 30 electric vehicles at a time can recharge in Fraunhofer IAO’s parking garage. Click to enlarge.

A team from Fraunhofer Institute for Industrial Engineering IAO, together with Daimler AG and the Institute for Human Factors and Technology Management at the University of Stuttgart, is developing both the charging infrastructure and the energy management systems required to manage large fleets of EVs in a project called charge@work.

The aim of charge@work is to design a micro smart grid (MSG) capable of supplying the EV fleet with electricity produced exclusively from renewable sources. This year will see the installation of a photovoltaic unit and a small wind power system at the Fraunhofer Institute Center Stuttgart IZS, where up to 30 electric vehicles at a time can recharge at AC charge spots in the Fraunhofer Campus parking garage.

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Navigant Research forecasts global annual sales of wireless charging equipment for light-duty EVs will surpass 300,000 units by 2022

February 27, 2014

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Navigant projections of wireless EVSE sales. Click to enlarge.

In a new report, “Wireless Charging Systems for Electric Vehicles”, Navigant Research forecasts that worldwide sales of wireless EV charging equipment for light-duty vehicles will grow by a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 108% from 2013 to 2022, reaching annual sales of slightly less than 302,000 units in 2022.

Until recently, wireless charging systems were in the R&D and pilot stages only, but now products have begun to reach the market. In 2013, Bosch announced a sales and distribution agreement with Evatran, maker of the Plugless Power system, with products scheduled to reach the market in the first quarter of 2014. Toyota has begun verification testing of its newly developed wireless battery charging system based on WiTricity technology. (Earlier post.)

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Sumitomo installs first large-scale power system using used EV batteries

February 08, 2014

Sumitomo Corporation has developed and installed the first large-scale power storage system which utilizes used batteries collected from electric vehicles. This commercial scale storage system, built on Yume-shima Island, Osaka, will begin operating in February 2014.

Sumitomo Corporation created the joint venture company, 4R Energy Corporation, in collaboration with Nissan Motor Co., Ltd. in September 2010, to address the secondary use of EV lithium-ion batteries. (Earlier post.) The used EV batteries that will be recycled into this large-scale storage system have been recovered and have gone through thorough inspection and maintenance at 4R, to confirm safety and performance. This prototype system (600kW/400kWh) consists of sixteen used EV batteries.

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CMU researchers find controlled charging of PHEVs can cut cost of integration into electricity system by 54-73%; higher benefits with wind power

January 24, 2014

In a new study published in the journal Applied Energy, Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) researchers found that controlled charging of plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) reduces the costs of integrating the vehicles into an electricity system by 54–73% depending on the scenario.

More specifically, controlled charging can cut the cost of integrating PHEVs approximately in half. The magnitude of these savings is ~5% to 15% higher in a system with 20% wind penetration compared to a system with no wind power, and the savings are 50–60% higher in a system that requires capacity expansion.

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California ISO publishes roadmap for integrating EVs into grid

December 28, 2013

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Summary of the path to enable EVs to provide grid services. Source: CA ISO. Click to enlarge.

The California Independent System Operator Corporation (ISO) has released a blueprint for integrating electric vehicles (EVs) into the grid: “California Vehicle-Grid Integration Roadmap: Enabling Vehicle-based Grid Services”.

The VGI blueprint outlines three inter-dependent tracks to assess how consumer use of electric vehicles could benefit electric reliability, and to determine policies and technologies necessary to elicit that value through appropriate market signals for a more reliable, sustainable electric grid.

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INL releases results of testing of Evatran Plugless 3.3 kW Level 2 wireless charging system

December 11, 2013

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System efficiency at 100mm gap for 3.3kW output plotted against primary coil position relative to secondary coil (mm). Source: INL. Click to enlarge.

Idaho National Laboratory researchers recently released independent testing results of a wireless charging system designed for plug-in electric vehicles (PEVs). The system tested, Evatran’s Plugless 3.3 kW Level 2 Charging System, uses inductive technology to wirelessly charge a PEV’s traction battery, which powers the vehicle. The Plugless system is the first wireless power transfer technology to be independently documented and published.

INL researchers performed 2,600 separate tests of Evatran’s Plugless Level 2 Charging System, which included testing at different distances and varying alignments, said Jim Francfort, INL’s principal investigator for advanced technology vehicles. INL continues to conduct independent testing of PEVs and charging systems.

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Honda joins vehicle-to-grid technology demonstration project in partnership with University of Delaware and NRG Energy

December 05, 2013

Honda has joined a demonstration project for experimental vehicle-to-grid (V2G) technology aimed at providing a potentially valuable energy storage resource to the electrical grid while providing for more cost-effective ownership of plug-in electric vehicles.

The Honda technology builds off of the research conducted by the University of Delaware and now supported by NRG Energy, Inc. through their eV2g joint venture (earlier post). eV2g came online early in 2013 with the first revenue-generating vehicle-to-grid project, demonstrating the controls, regulatory requirements, and market participation rules for selling energy storage from vehicles into the PJM Interconnection Regulation Market. (Earlier post.)

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Nissan testing LEAF as electrical power storage and supply for office buildings; LEAF-to-Building a development of LEAF-to-Home

November 29, 2013

Nissan reports a successful early field test of a system that will allow companies to regulate their electricity bills using the batteries of Nissan LEAFs used by their staff to commute to work. “Vehicle-To-Building” allows up to six Nissan LEAF EVs to be connected to a building’s power distribution board.

Charging is phased during the day so at peak hours, when electricity is most expensive, the building draws power from the cars. When electricity is cheaper it flows the other way. The system ensures the Nissan LEAFs are fully charged by the end of the working day for their owners to drive home.

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Euro Parliament Transport Committee backs draft directive mandating expansion of alternative fuel stations; grandfathering CHAdeMO

November 26, 2013

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Minimum number of publicly-accessible recharging points for electric vehicles in each member state. Click to enlarge.

EU member states would have to ensure that specified numbers of publicly-available electric vehicle recharging points and hydrogen and natural gas stations are built by 2020, under a draft directive endorsed by the Transport and Tourism Committee of the European Parliament on Tuesday. The draft rules aim to reduce dependence on oil and boost take-up of alternative fuels, so as to help achieve a 60% cut in greenhouse gas emissions from transport by 2050.

Private sector players should play a leading role in developing this infrastructure, but member states should provide tax and public procurement incentives for them to do so, say the members of Parliament (MEPs). The directive specifies that:

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Inaugural PlugInsights report highlights need to expand public fast charging

November 15, 2013

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The study shows that home charging is dominant. Data: PlugInsights. Click to enlarge.

Electric vehicle software and information services company Recargo Inc., has launched a plug-in vehicle (PEV) research firm—PlugInsights—which released an inaugural report addressing the experiences, behaviors and opinions around charging a plug-in vehicle in America.

The sample for the study was drawn from PlugInsights’ PEV panel, comprising more than 3,700 plug-in drivers of 17 different vehicle makes and models of plug-in hybrid, mid-range battery-electric vehicles and long-range battery electric vehicles (the Teslas), mathematically modeled to reflect the “real world”. The growing panel will be the data source for upcoming PEV studies, and will be used for custom survey and focus group research with PlugInsights clients.

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SAE task force agrees on frequency of operation and power classes for wireless power transfer for light-duty plug-in vehicles

SAE International J2954 Task Force for Wireless Power Transfer (WPT) of Light Duty, Electric and Plug-in Electric Vehicles, has agreed upon two key factors for the Technical Information Report (TIR) on interoperability for the first phase of pre-commercial development: a common frequency of operation (85 kHz) and the definition of three power classes for light duty vehicles: WPT 1, 2 and 3.

Made up of OEMs, WPT Suppliers, industry experts and government representatives, the Task Force plans to complete the TIR in early 2014. The SAE Technical Information Report will be followed by publication of SAE J2954 Standard, based on field data confirmation.

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NCSU team proposes new system for dynamic wireless EV charging

Researchers from North Carolina State University are proposing a new topology appropriate for dynamic wireless charging—i.e., wireless charging on the go. Currently, at peak efficiency, the new system can transmit energy at a rate of 0.5 kilowatts (kW). The team’s goal is to move from 0.5 kW into the 50 kW range.

The system, outlined in a paper published in IEEE Transactions on Power Electronics, features a transmitter made from segmented multiple coils, each of which broadcasts a low-level electromagnetic field and is powered by a single inverter. A receiver coil that is the same size as each of the transmitter coils is placed in a car or other mobile platform. (The size of the coils is important, because coils of the same size transfer energy more efficiently.)

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