CEC Awards Grant for Standards-Based Smart EV Charging Platform

June 14, 2015 by Jeff Shepard

The California Energy Commission (CEC) has awarded a $1.5 million grant to the Center for Sustainable Energy (CSE) to lead development of an advanced management platform for integrating electric vehicle (EV) charging with utility-scale energy systems. CSE will work closely with KnGrid to create a standardized platform that optimizes charging benefits for both grid operators and vehicle owners. It will be the first data platform to employ the international ISO/IEC 15118 standard for flexibly managing vehicle charging with data from the power grid.

“By leveraging an international standard for how EVs share data with grid operators, our work will enable reliable, secure and scalable integration of California’s growing fleet of EVs with the low-carbon electrical grid of the future,” said Mike Ferry, the project’s principal investigator and CSE’s senior manager for advanced energy projects. “Although focused on California, which leads the nation in EVs with over 150,000 vehicles, this project is applicable to grid operators across the country in managing EV charging with minimal impacts and the greatest environmental benefit.”

The project team will develop and implement the world’s first standards-based smart charging platform, termed a “demand clearing house” (DCH) in the international ISO/IEC 15118 protocol, that will consolidate real-time grid profiles from local utilities and energy market pricing from the California Independent System Operator (CAISO) with simultaneous charging of grid-connected EVs. This two-way data exchange will create a means to use EV batteries to help manage variable grid conditions, generation oversupply and other challenges associated with the state’s goals to decarbonize its electricity sector with renewable energy resources such as solar and wind.

“This project provides a clear pathway to harmonize electric vehicle batteries and their electric loads with the needs of today’s electrical utilities as they deal with increasing renewable energy sources,” said Stephen Davis, CEO of KnGrid. “The DCH will enable automakers, charging station manufacturers and utilities to standardize vehicle-grid communications by leveraging an internationally developed protocol and will provide a viable model for utility pricing of grid-aligned electric vehicle charging.”

Electrical utilities are eager to establish vehicle-grid integration because it would provide significant energy demand flexibility during times when they can predict upcoming peak usage or times of excess renewable energy generation. Instructions could be sent to vehicle chargers to reduce or delay charging until grid conditions change, but still provide EV drivers the option to charge based on mobility needs and at times with the best utility rates.

CSE and KnGrid will be working with other experts in vehicle-grid integration and utility operations, including RWE-Effizienz, University of California San Diego, Strategen Consulting and Energy Solutions, with additional support from Siemens, CAISO and BMW. Once the DCH platform is developed, it will be tested in a demonstration fleet of EVs at UC San Diego.

The Energy Commission grant is part of California’s Electric Program Investment Charge (EPIC) that provides grant funding for applied research and development, technology demonstration and deployment and market facilitation for clean energy technologies and approaches. The program is funded by ratepayers in the state’s three large electric investor‐owned utilities.