OnStar and Chevy Volt’s Smart Grid Pilot

Posted by Energy Wire on July 21, 2011 at 10:26 AM

General Motors and its subsidiary OnStar have launched a pilot program with regional utilities that takes us one step closer to large scale adoption of electric vehicles.
We’re excited about it, and we’re rooting for it.

Here’s why.

Hundreds of employees from participating utilities will drive leased Chevrolet Volts. OnStar will wirelessly link the EVs to utilities, who will receive data about charge level and charge history.

That will allow deep insight into where and when EVs are charged.

Utilities will have an easier time forecasting demand, setting rates and locating their charging stations and infrastructure. They’ll be able to reduce peak demand by shifting charging to non-peak hours.

And users who opt-in can receive discounts or other incentives that will encourage them to charge up when overall electricity demand is lowest – usually in the early morning hours.

Why is this so cool?

Transportation accounts for a huge chunk of our nation’s energy usage. The low-carbon future promised by EVs has always been clouded by one big question: We’ve got to power them with clean, renewable energy for them to really make a difference.

Finding smart ways to manage demand for the power required to charge EVs begins to address that issue.

Photo credit: Matteuxphoto

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