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National parks are naturally concerned with environmental preservation and a handful are finding ways to encourage driving at the same time.
Marking a milestone in one of the key hindrances to plague electric vehicles (EVs) thus far, eight of the word’s automakers have agreed to unify on a harmonized charging system capable of a 15-minute recharge.
One of the biggest downfalls of electric vehicles currently is the lack of range, which means stopping often to charge, hindering the owner when going long distances.
The dawn of a new era is upon us with electric vehicle charging and it appears that Swedish automaker Volvo wants to help streamline the recharging process for owners out in public looking for juice for their EV. The project, titled Electric Vehicle Intelligent Infra Structure (ELVIIS) is being kicked off with the help of Ericsson, Göteborg Energi, and the Viktoria Institute.
The goal of the project is to make EVs rechargeable at any outlet with the owner of the car automatically getting billed for the energy usage. Currently, the ELVIIS project will help direct owners to an outlet via GPS where they can preset charge times through their vehicle’s infotainment system or a mobile device like a smartphone. The vehicle can then communicate with the respective utility company to help minimize grid usage for lower electrical rates. Through the wonders of technology, the vehicle’s owner would then have the energy used charged on their own electrical bill.
Volvo is lending a helping hand with five C30 Electrics as demo vehicles, all of which are equipped with a new 7-inch touchscreen in the dash. The team will monitor and evaluate the project over this year and it will be interesting to see if this sort of integration makes its way to production models.
Watch the video after the break.
Following on from a demonstration back in February, at the DistribuTECH conference in San Diego, General Motors, in conjunction with OnStar, is in the process of launching a real world Smart Grid program for electric vehicles, beginning with a pilot project, set to debut later this year.
The project will see numerous utility employees driving leased Chevrolet Volts as every day vehicles, with the objective of accurately monitoring (and managing) the actual amount of energy consumed by each vehicle a utility operates, via OnStar’s Advanced Telematics Operations Management System (ATOMS).
From the data gathered, utilities will then be able to decide on the optimum times for charging EVs on the grid, the idea being, that charging them is done during off-peak periods.
Essentially, it works like this. The Smart Grid system actually incorporates two elements, the first of which records the current charging level of each car, as well as its charging history, via time and location information.
The second allows the utility in question to actively manage vehicle charging, by providing discounts or other incentives to motorists in an effort to encourage them to charge their vehicles during off peak times, such as the early morning hours, reducing the amount of strain on the grid and thus with it, the chance of brownouts and other supply issues.
“OnStar is the only telematics provider that can create a wireless bridge between electric vehicles and the grid, building on our learning from the Chevrolet Volts on the road today,” said Nick Pudar, the company’s vice president of planning and business development in a recent statement.
It’ll be interesting to see how this new Smart Grid system fares during the trial period and whether from the results gathered, it can truly provide a worthy solution to one of the biggest on-going problems concerning EVs.