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Electric Avenue

Connecting vehicles to smart systems.

Fortnightly Magazine - October 2011

day. The introduction of the EV might well be the largest increase in demand since the air conditioner. As a result, ICT capabilities will be important for integrating these roaming, power-consuming devices.

EV Use Cases

Because this is a new technology product, the manufacturers have designed capabilities into EVs that enable them to inform the ecosystem about their performance and needs. There are three different use cases: the vehicle is in its home location; the vehicle is in a temporary but predictable location; or the vehicle is in a temporary and unpredictable location. Each use case has a slightly different dynamic within the ecosystem of EV participants. With different levels of information available to different users, the complexity of establishing proper data flows that retain personal privacy is challenging. As with many other integrated information environments, the complexities and individual adaptations are manageable—though not simple—through a multi-tiered integrated ICT systems architecture.

For the first use case, the vehicle is at its home location. At this location, the owner or driver expects the vehicle to be ready at the start of the day, and returns the car to the same location each night. This is predictable demand from each location, whether at the vehicle depot of a municipal fleet or in a consumer’s garage. The participants in this use case are: owner or driver; the automaker; and the utility. The ICT system enables the vehicle to remind the owner to connect the vehicle to the power supply by a certain time, via a text message or email. The ICT system can enable the owner to set the time each day when the vehicle charge should occur, which would match reduced utility rates for overnight charging. Integrating the ICT system of the vehicle with the utility ICT systems would enable even more intriguing options. Assuming the systems protect the privacy of the owner, the utility might be given the option to adjust supply to the vehicle, as long as the vehicle is charged by a certain time—leaving for work in the morning, for example. If the utility participated in such an integrated ICT environment, the owner could receive assurances from the utility that the vehicle would be ready at the prescribed time. The automaker’s connected vehicle service package would also reflect the utility message, ensuring the owner or driver is informed regardless of interface. Furthermore, if the utility system were integrated with the vehicle ICT system, the utility would build a knowledge base of typical charge state of the vehicle per location and the likely power demand. All EV types will fit this use case.

In the second use case, when the vehicle is at a temporary but predictable location, the ICT interactions are more complex. The owner or driver might be parking at a company location that offers charging infrastructure. The charging stations themselves might be owned by the company or they might be part of a third-party system, such as the ChargePoint Network from Coulomb or a Blink station from ECOtality. The station might have a card swipe to activate it, and