For readers who are unfamiliar with a smart grid, it is a more integrated network of electricity distribution with telematics and communication ability between the utilities, the houses and the vehicles. GM is not the first company to attempt to bridge the gap between plug-in vehicles and the electricity producers, but real-world tests are not common. OEMs and utilities are interested in this technology because it can help balance the load, but drivers might benefit, too, because their utility bills might be lowered and because of ideas like the "cashback car."
OnStar connectivity will help Chevy Volt Customers reduce driving costs
· Smart grid solutions enable utilities to manage electric vehicle energy demands
OnStar will be the lone telematics provider able to create wireless bridge between electric vehicles and the grid
Regional utility employees will drive Volts as every day vehicles in Q3
RALEIGH, N.C. – General Motors and OnStar will launch the first real-world pilot of smart grid solutions for electric vehicles this year, paving the way for utilities to increase energy efficiency and offer lower charging costs to customers.
Starting this quarter, hundreds of employees of regional utilities will drive leased Chevrolet Volts as their everyday vehicles and participate in the pilot.
"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," said Nick Pudar, OnStar vice president of planning and business development. "Through this pilot we will see real-time results on how intelligent energy management can maximize EV charging efficiency and minimize the electric bill for EV drivers."
Many utility companies throughout the U.S. have implemented programs where customers opt-in to allow the utility to stop and start their home air conditioning units as needed when electricity demand is high. The customer benefit from this service is a lower electricity bill. OnStar's unique smart grid solution builds on this concept, but to a much more advanced and sophisticated level.
Through the OnStar Advanced Telematics Operations Management System (ATOMS) a utility will be able to accurately monitor and manage the energy used by the vehicles. The data will give the utility deep insight into where and when EVs are charged and demand response, which allows the utility to reduce peak demand by shifting EV charging to non-peak hours.
"OnStar is the only telematics provider in operation that can create a wireless bridge between electric vehicles and the grid, building on our learnings from the Chevrolet Volts on the road today," Pudar said.
Through OnStar's ATOMS infrastructure and partners' solutions, utilities will be able to implement two Smart Grid services:
Data Gathering. With customer permission, OnStar will provide the utility with overall charge level as well as charging history – by time and location – for the Volt pilot fleet, without the vehicles having to first connect to a charging station. This will give the utility better insight for forecasting demand, setting rates and determining the best location for charging infrastructure.
Demand response. OnStar will allow the utility to actively manage EV charging for those who opt in to the service. The utility can then reduce peak loads by offering discounts or other incentives to encourage drivers to charge their EVs when overall electricity demand is lowest, typically in the early morning hours.
OnStar, the automotive industry leader in telematics, first demonstrated EV data gathering and demand response in February at the DistribuTECH conference in San Diego. The Chevrolet Volt is now available in select U.S. markets and will be available nationwide by the end of the year.
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About General Motors
General Motors (NYSE: GM, TSX: GMM), one of the world's largest automakers, traces its roots back to 1908. With its global headquarters in Detroit, GM employs 202,000 people in every major region of the world and does business in more than 120 countries. GM and its strategic partners produce cars and trucks in 30 countries, and sell and service these vehicles through the following brands: Baojun, Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, GMC, Daewoo, Holden, Isuzu, Jiefang, Opel, Vauxhall, and Wuling. GM's largest national market is China, followed by the United States, Brazil, the United Kingdom, Germany, Canada, and Italy. GM's OnStar subsidiary is the industry leader in vehicle safety, security and information services. More information on the new General Motors can be found at www.gm.com.
OnStar, a wholly owned subsidiary of General Motors, is the leading provider of connected safety and security solutions, value-added mobility services and advanced information technology. Currently available on more than 40 MY 2011 GM models, OnStar soon will be available for installation on most other vehicles already on the road through local electronics retailers, including Best Buy. The OnStar Mobile App is a recipient of the 2011 Edison Award for Best New Product in the Remote Driving Aids segment and OnStar Stolen Vehicle Slowdown is a recipient of the 2010 Edison Award for Best New Product in the Technology segment. OnStar safely connects its more than six million subscribers, in the U.S., Canada and China, in ways never thought possible. More information about OnStar can be found at www.onstar.com.