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OnStar showing Smart Energy Management Solutions for EVs and utilities

OnStar will demonstrate a set of smart energy management technologies designed to help electric vehicle customers and utilities plan better and save money at DistribuTECH, a smart grid conference and exposition being held in San Diego 1-3 February.

Each of the demonstrations will highlight how OnStar can be used with smart grid technology to efficiently manage the electricity demand of electric vehicles. A Chevrolet Volt will be used in the demonstrations.

Managing electricity supply and demand has always been extremely complex. The embedded technology of OnStar allows for accurate monitoring and controlling of the energy used by electric vehicles like the Volt.

—Nick Pudar, Vice President of Planning and Business Development at OnStar

The demonstrations will include:

  • Demand response. This solution will connect utilities to companies like GE and Comverge that have intelligent energy management products. GE and Comverge will demonstrate the use of OnStar to continually monitor and manage energy usage for Volt customers who opt in for the service. This future service allows the customer to save money on energy costs while enabling more efficient use of the electric grid.

  • Time-of-Use (TOU) rates. OnStar can receive dynamic time-of-use pricing from utilities and notify Volt owners of the rate plan offers via email. Owners can use OnStar to load the rate plans directly into their vehicle and access them to schedule charging during lower-rate periods.

  • Data gathering. OnStar also sends and receives EV data that helps utility providers without having to interface with the vehicle’s electric vehicle supply equipment. This includes location-based EV data that identifies charging locations and determines potential load scenarios.

  • Vehicle-to-Home Integration Technology. OnStar will be exhibiting alongside Tendril to provide attendees with a look at how the Tendril technology platform enables vehicle-to-home integration, simplifying energy management and the implications for future connected home applications.

The integration and demonstration of these OnStar smart energy management technologies is part of a demonstration program with participating utilities across the United States. The program is made possible with a grant of more than $30 million from the Transportation Electrification Initiative administered by the US Department of Energy through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.



"OnStar can receive dynamic time-of-use pricing from utilities and notify Volt owners of the rate plan offers via email."

While some of this may be an actual convenience to the EV owner - let's not forget KISS. A real world scenario suggests that utilities with or without "smart grids" will offer TOU with or without EVs. And since 95% lower cost electricity arrives during off-peak overnight - chances are most prudent EV owners will have selected overnight charging. Doh!

A good bit of this hand wringing over grid loading from EVs will be resolved by distributed energy. The advent of economical CHP systems fueled initially by NG will let EV owners control their entire energy portfolio. These systems will rapidly be replaced by more advanced FC stacks fueled by !! homemade H2 !!

It looks like the utils and oilcos will be left behind or terminated by the introduction of disruptive energy technology - happening right now around the world. Too bad the old school could not take a hint and participate in the evolution. Energy Independence rapidly approaches.

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