Automakers, Utilities Team Up To Keep Electric Vehicles Charged

Jul 29, 2014 06:20 PM EDT | Jordan Ecarma (j.ecarma@autoworldnews.com)

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BMW i3

The World premiere of the BMW i3, the first pure electric series-produced model of the BMW Group, took place in New York, London and Beijing. (Photo : BMW)

Major automakers and utility companies have teamed up to develop an open source "smart charging" platform to recharge plug-in vehicles.

Supported by the Electric Power Institute, the program includes automakers American Honda Motor, BMW, Chrysler, Ford, General Motors, Mercedes-Benz, Mitsubishi Motors Corp. and Toyota Motor Engineering and Manufacturing North America, Edmunds.com reported.  

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"We see this as the foundation for future development to integrate [plug-in vehicles] with the grid," said Dan Bowermaster, manager of the institute's electric transportation program, as quoted by Edmunds.

The initiative aims to create a universal system that will allow plug-ins to charge efficiently wherever they are. Using an open platform, different brands of electric cars would be able to communicate with various recharging utilities.

"It will seamlessly enable charging during off-peak periods and removes any potential confusion about different charging incentive programs that may be offered by utilities, regardless of location," said EPRI spokesman Charles Perry, as quoted by Edmunds.

As automakers work to transition to electric vehicles, they face the problem of making different models compatible with various smart grid systems. The U.S. has more than 1,000 discrete power utilities, posing a challenge to carmakers who want to streamline car production.

The program was announced in conjunction with a national electric car industry conference being held through Wednesday in Silicon Valley.

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