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USCAR helps to develop charging-readiness tools for plug-in & electric vehicles through US DRIVE

As a member of the US DRIVE Grid Interaction Tech Team (GITT), the US Council for Automotive Research LLC (USCAR) recently played a key role in assisting the US Department of Energy (DOE) to develop a model streamlining process for permitting and inspecting home-charging stations for plug-in hybrid electric and electric vehicles (PHEVs/EVs), as well as information tools for the actual installation process.

Founded in 1992, USCAR is the collaborative automotive technology company for Chrysler Group LLC, Ford Motor Company and General Motors. The goal of USCAR is to further strengthen the technology base of the domestic auto industry through cooperative research and development.

USCAR is a partner in US DRIVE, which stands for United States Driving Research and Innovation for Vehicle efficiency and Energy sustainability. US DRIVE is a voluntary, non-binding, and non-legal partnership among the US Department of Energy; USCAR; Tesla Motors; five energy companies—BP America, Chevron Corporation, ConocoPhillips, ExxonMobil Corporation, and Shell Oil Products US; two utilities—Southern California Edison and DTE Energy; and the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI).

The US DRIVE mission is to accelerate the development of pre-competitive and innovative technologies to enable a full range of efficient and clean advanced light-duty vehicles, as well as related energy infrastructure.

The tools, which were announced by DOE as part of its Clean Cities Initiative, are available online, making them accessible to consumers, installers, governments and businesses.

The first tool is a six-page permitting template that can be adapted by local governments to help standardize permitting and inspection procedures for plug-in electric vehicles (PHEVs) between different regions. The second tool is a 30-minute video titled, “Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment (EVSE) Residential Home Charging Installation,” and is intended for electrical contractors and inspectors. It covers all aspects of setting up a home charge station. Both tools will help accelerate the approval process for home charging stations.

The Grid Interaction Tech Team helped to identify and address roadblocks that would prevent successful commercialization of all types of plug-in electric vehicles. Team members, which include USCAR, utility partners, the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI), EVSE installers, DOE and national laboratories, also identified ways to streamline the EVSE installation and permit process as the number one priority to support the adoption of PHEVs and EVs. GITT members, especially the USCAR members, agreed that, if PHEVs and EVs are to gain mass acceptance by consumers, it is mission-critical to reduce the amount of time vehicle buyers have to wait to have vehicle charge stations installed at their homes.

The project team mapped out a model permit streamlining strategy, including a national EVSE permit template with consistent language and format that local electrical inspectors and EVSE installers (the electrical contractors) can use if they so choose.

Additionally, they helped the Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) Clean Cities team develop content requirements for training materials to support the permit process, and train electrical contractors and inspectors who will be on the front line of making their communities EV-ready.

Permit and supporting documents may be accessed at: http://www.afdc.energy.gov/afdc/pdfs/EV_charging_template.pdf, with the video accessible at: http://bit.ly/EVSEcharginginstall.

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