Commercial test of utility-controlled smart charging for PHEVs


David Mohler,
Chief Technology
Duke Energy
Charlotte, NC, U.S.A. — (METERING.COM) — March 31, 2008 – Duke Energy has announced positive results from what is believed to be the first commercial test of utility-controlled ‘smart charging’ for plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs). The test was conducted together with GridPoint Inc., a clean tech company offering a smart grid platform.

Duke Energy engineers tested GridPoint’s smart charging capability by plugging a PHEV into a garage wall outlet controlled by the GridPoint SmartGrid Platform in the late afternoon. Duke began charging the vehicle at 10 pm and completed charging prior to the morning peak, leaving the car fully charged for the driver’s morning commute. GridPoint’s platform successfully controlled, measured and verified the charging of an electric vehicle parked in a residential garage.

"Smart charging is an essential capability for Duke and all electric utilities as PHEVs enter the market," said David Mohler, Chief Technology Officer, Duke Energy. "Through this capability, we’re able to reduce stress on the grid during peak periods and keep rates low."

Much attention is being paid to the best way to integrate PHEVs into the nation’s electric grid system. The Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) and Ford Motor Company recently announced a three-year agreement to develop and evaluate technical approaches for this integration, noting it is a key requirement to facilitate widespread adoption of the vehicles. EPRI will form a collaborative of utilities in the New York-New Jersey area that will test Ford Escape PHEVs. Subsequent trials will be conducted with customers of the participating utilities.

Ford, which is also working with Southern California Edison (SCE), is the first automotive manufacturer to partner with the utility industry to facilitate advancing PHEVs. The new EPRI-Ford program will build on the ongoing Ford-SCE partnership and help determine regional differences in how the operation of PHEVs will impact the electric grid system.

"This partnership represents a concerted effort by the transportation and electric sectors to work together in advancing PHEV technology," said Mark Duvall, EPRI’s program manager for Electric Transportation. "This effort should accelerate the pace of PHEV development while enabling the utility industry to prepare for the introduction of these vehicles."