Ford: Plug-In EVs, Utilities About To Start Talking

DEARBORN — Ford Motor Co. says it’s collaborating with seven of the world’s largest automakers and 15 American utilities to develop technology for plug-in electric vehicles to talk to the power company via the cloud.

Ford says the move that would help manage energy use and improve the efficiency of the power grid.

Collaboration among the automakers, utility companies and Electric Power Research Institute is integral to the pilot program, which will create a standards-based communications platform for use by plug-in electric vehicles and the electric grids.

The platform will enable the utilities to contact vehicle customers who have opted-in to the program, sending a request for those cars to stop charging temporarily to help manage a grid that is becoming overloaded.

This approach uses existing communications technology and standards like the MyFord Mobile App, and pushes to advance those systems by enabling two-way communication between the electric grid and electric vehicles.

“This innovative platform provides a critical enabler for the next step in vehicle electrification,” said Mike Tinskey, associate global director of electrification infrastructure for Ford. “It’s a way for plug-in electric vehicle drivers to be financially rewarded for their willingness to help manage the electric grid.”

Participating utility companies are prepared to offer financial incentives to owners who make their cars available to the grid, similar to utilities offering customers discounts for allowing their home air conditioning to run intermittently during times of high demand. Customers who opt in to the program can charge their cars at a location of their choice and have the ability to ignore the utility’s request to stop charging.

Utilities and regional transmission organizations participating in the software and hardware development and demonstration include Detroit’s DTE Energy; Duke Energy; PJM Interconnection LLC; CenterPoint Energy Inc.; Southern Co.; Northeast Utilities; Southern California Edison; Pacific Gas & Electric Co.; San Diego Gas & Electric; Commonwealth Edison; the Tennessee Valley Authority; Manitoba Hydro; Austin Energy; ConEd; and CPS Energy.

Other automakers involved in the effort are American Honda Motor Co., BMW Group, Chrysler Group, General Motors Co., Mercedes-Benz Research & Development North America Inc., Mitsubishi Motors North America Inc. and Toyota Motor Engineering & Manufacturing North America Inc.

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