IBM with Swiss company EKZ, is creating an app for electric car owners to see the current cost of electricity and to help them find the best moment to charge their EVs. It works from a simple app, which links to a book-sized unit in a car, and the grid itself, which relays information on power availability. Drivers can see whether their car needs topping up, then decide when to charge, and whether to use conventional or renewable output. If the car is plugged in, they can even complete the process remotely.
“The mobile application essentially allows people to control how their electric vehicle is charged,” says Clay Luthy, IBM’s global distributed energy resource leader. “They can choose to charge immediately, delay the charge until when electricity rates are cheaper, or use an optimized charge schedule.”
The third option turns the timing of the charge over to the utility. It can then schedule when to charge based on the resources available, smoothing out peaks in demand, and avoiding use of backup sources that tend to be more expensive, and worse for the environment.