“Green and Connected”: CAR White Paper Explores Interaction of Vehicle Communications and Electrification of Powertrains
The Center for Automotive Research (CAR) has released a review draft of a white paper prepared for the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) that explores the interactions between what it calls “two of the most important developments in automotive technology underway”: the introduction of vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-infrastructure communications; and the electrification of the powertrain.
The purpose of the paper (which Richard Wallace, CAR’s Director Transportation Systems Analysis Group announced during a session exploring the same topic at the Business of Plugging In 2010 conference in Detroit) is threefold. CAR and MDOT first want to document the interactions between communication and electrification technologies, showing how their simultaneous development enhances both. Second, they are seeking to outline the technical, regulatory, and other factors that are needed to allow these technologies to achieve wide deployment and for the traveling public to realize their full benefits. Third, they want to explore opportunities for the State of Michigan to establish leadership and benefit the state’s economy and industry.
Vehicle communications technology is exemplified by the IntelliDrive program of the US Department of Transportation. The category includes vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I) connectivity (communication of the vehicle with the roadway, traffic signals, and other pieces of infrastructure, such as bridges) and vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) connectivity.
Although vehicle communication offers the potential for all forms of alternative and advanced powertrains to become more efficient, the report notes, grid-enabled vehicles—GEVs, i.e. plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs), extended range electric vehicles (EREVs), and battery electric vehicles (BEVs)—potentially offer the greatest opportunity to capitalize on connectivity.
The grid-enable vehicle could become the communication focal point for a fully integrated energy system, the report suggests, with the vehicle integrating electric power generation and grid, homes, and the transportation infrastructure.
CAR defines three levels of connectedness:
Simple transportation energy planning and mapping. This includes route planning to optimize efficiency, range estimation, and identification of refueling locations.
The initial grid-enabled model. Specific to GEVs, this requires smart meters either at the charging point or on the vehicle to connect the vehicle to the energy delivery system. Applications can include grid-balancing strategies, service area charging and tracking, and vehicle charging monitoring and control strategies.
The integrated energy transportation efficiency model. This requires the inclusion of smart grid management, and vehicle-to-grid storage strategies. Full communication between the vehicle and IntelliDrive systems, could enable to exploit the full potential of efficient driving.
There are numerous barriers to implementation, the report notes: logistical (e.g., infrastructure and standards); technical (e.g., battery capacity and cost), political, and workforce-related.