Mercedes-Benz is currently spearheading research that will make vehicle-to-grid communication possible, so that the technology can be made standard on future electric vehicles. This will help reduce the burden that EVs place on the power grid, and owners will have lower electricity bills also since they’ll be charging during the cheapest periods.
Here’s basically how the system works: When not in use, the EV is plugged into the grid. The user then informs the grid when the vehicle will be used next; this can be done via applications on smartphones and the iPad, for example. Since the grid now knows when the vehicle will be next used, it can determine the best period to charge, ideally at times when there is the least amount of stress on the power grid. Additionally, the grid can also tap the power already in the EV during peak periods. The bottom line is that, by the time the user needs the EV ready to run, it will be fully charged already.
The need for this kind of technology surfaced after seeing the results of Smart Fortwo electric drive and Mercedes-Benz A-Class E-Cell fleet tests. Now, Mercedes-Benz is at the helm of the research group, which is comprised of the major German and French automakers, the Detroit Big Three and Toyota.
“The tech is particularly relevant for the US where energy companies are scared of what impact EVs could have on the grid,” said Werner Preuschoff, Daimler vehicle-to-grid communications senior manager. “As soon as the EV can interact with the grid, EVs become viable as their impact can be understood and managed especially as there is going to be so many of them.”