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Electric Avenue

Connecting vehicles to smart systems.

Fortnightly Magazine - October 2011

this then needs to be integrated with employee systems to identify the user. In some examples, such as a municipal fleet, the vehicle might simply be at another municipality-owned location, but still needs to be identified into the system.

To the ecosystem of the first use case, we then add EV service equipment providers, as well as corporate or other systems that manage the supply per parking space. With the concepts of customer ownership and billing remaining opaque, other service providers will likely be involved. Many of the initial use case actions hold true here, but become more complex. For example, an EVSE system would represent a potential aggregate demand per location, as well as across its multiple locations. The service proposition would include such components as space availability, reservation and registration, and driver interaction. Driver interaction might include corporate systems in addition to an interface from an automaker. The price for a charge might be the financial responsibility of the owner, driver, company or department. All EV types will fit this use case of a predictable secondary location for vehicle charging.

The last use case presents the highest degree of complexity of the three. From a demand perspective, BEVs will represent more irregular demand for level-3 chargers, as they become available. These vehicles have larger battery packs where charge is essential for distance. PHEVs, while smaller in battery pack, represent the greatest demand for irregular, unpredictable charging. If manufacturers add level-3 charging capabilities to PHEVs, they might opt for 420-volt fast charging too. The use case best represents the present world of gasoline-powered vehicles. For PHEVs, the social pressure to achieve the highest miles-per-gallon is very likely to increase visits to virtually any charging infrastructure that can be found. As charging infrastructure broadens, owners will feel further empowered to stretch their distance. Projects such as electrifying the Interstate 5 corridor on the West Coast are necessary to provide both market confidence and a draw for demand to start showing up in the oddest places and at the strangest times. On a busy holiday weekend, would a number of PHEVs and BEVs pulling into charging infrastructure on a hot Friday afternoon be boon or bust?

If cooperation in the EV ecosystem enabled it, however, the driver could use a navigation tool that plots the route, which then informs the charging infrastructure along the way of potential demand, much as smartphones today are traffic probes for navigation systems operated by Google, Navteq and TomTom. Such a cooperative system would render anonymous the driver data, only showing rolling load versus objective and likely demand locations. The driver benefits as well, since infrastructure would be identified with available facilities highlighted and the ability to schedule a reservation. With a connected cooperative system, any delay in the arrival of the vehicle would be communicated ahead, securing the reservation despite the altered schedule and without driver intervention.

In all of these use cases and examples, the complexity of the EV proposition increases along with the number of vehicles in the market. Moreover, it’s impossible to create sufficient