GM to launch first real-world smart grid pilot, will help Volt owners reduce driving cost

GM OnStart Utility Grid

In conjunction with OnStar, GM is releasing the very first smart grid pilot this year. The real-world pilot works with utilities with the purpose of lowering consumer costs by making energy usage more efficient.

Nick Pudar, OnStar VP of planning and business development comments on the products implementation: “In contrast to other OEM’s who are only talking about smart grid technology, we’re moving beyond research and development projects to a program in the real world… Through this pilot we will see real-time results on how intelligent energy management can maximize EV charging efficenty and minimize the electric bill for EV drivers.”

Putting the smart grid pilot into action, quite a number of Chevrolet employees will be swapping their daily drivers for the Volt.

OnStar based its solutions on the utility companies program that gives customers the option to allow their providers to turn the homes air conditioning units off and on in response to high or low demands for service. Taking this concept a step further, OnStar uses an Advanced Telematics Operations Management System to track the car’s energy usage, and allow them to favorably alter charging patterns.

Nick Pudar says “OnStar is the only telematics provider that can create a wireless bridge beetween electic vehicles and the grid, building on our learnign form teh Chevrolet Volts on the road today,”.
One of the two smart grid services to be made available is Data Gathering. The utility company will receive data on charging history, time and location, in addition to charge level via OnStar. The utility will in turn use the data to get to rates, forecasts, and optimum locations for charge.

The other service launched with the pilot is called demand response, which manages EV charging. Data is provided to the utility which in turn can use it to determine peak charging hours, and offer incentives to Volt drivers to charge during hours that carry a lower demand.

Both services are provided with permission by customer opt-in. Services will be available nationwide before 2012.

– By: Alexandra Koken