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WEBINAR Review: Preparing the Energy Grid for Electrified and Autonomous Vehicles

Submitted by on January 14, 2018 – 8:03 pmNo Comment

by Michael Eggleston* (Advanced Biofuels USA)  On December 13th, SAE International moderated a webinar clarifying how the energy grid prepares to support a high volume of fully electric, autonomous vehicles in the coming future.

In order to prepare for the rise in EV consumer demand, Daimler AG, the largest manufacture of trucks in the world, is developing home market energy solutions which include stationary energy storage systems and an electric vehicle (EV) charging program, said James Karavakis leading business development at Mercedes-Benz Energy Americas.

One way that externalities are supporting the company’s effort in facilitating EV adoption is through the support of implementing EV charging tariffs. By setting a higher on-peak time-of-use rate, utilities are hoping that customers will avoid charging their vehicles during on-peak hours thus avoiding massive demand load on the grid. Looking forward to the development of fully autonomous driving, the element of managing grid loads will become automated as energy storage capacity will dwarf the stationary energy storage market said James optimistically.

Building a sustainable architecture to manage grid demand at NREL (National Renewable Energy Laboratory) is Andrew Meintz, a Senior Research Engineer who said that intelligently managing the charging of EVs can result in savings on commercial electric tariffs. When constructing this management system, NREL learned that data provided by EV drivers is not always reliable and that effective aggregation of EV management requires a large number of EVs to provide sufficient grid flexibility.

Influencing the current state of regulation, Beverly Hills is spearheading a pilot autonomous vehicle program said David Schirmer, Chief Information Officer for the city. He believes that municipalities will have to adapt in terms of land-use and changes in the right of way. In particular, he mentioned that there will be a reduced need for off-street parking which is currently required for all commercial development. Additionally there will be a need to procure safe pick-up and drop-off zones for both on street and off-street passenger boarding.

To accommodate these needs the city has partnered with the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) to deploy smart charging stations that quadruple the charging availability and capacity of a single station that can also determine the type of vehicle being charged and prioritize its needs accordingly in relation to the current grid demand.

The city is also looking into developing strategies to better manage traffic on a regional level in cooperation with Los Angeles. Schirmer is looking forward to the development of smart traffic signals based off of machine learning and real time road conditions. These traffic signals will be capable of decentralizing traffic optimization and include a vehicle-to-infrastructure system which will bridge communication between the road network and the vehicle.

Presenter’s slides are available to download under the “Downloadable Slides/Resources” from the sponsor of the webinar, Aras Corporation, until December 2018.


* Michael Eggleston is a chemical engineering student specializing in the interdisciplinary & intercultural communication of sustainable development practices with the University of Rhode Island’s International Engineering Program and spending a semester abroad at the Technische Universität Darmstadt in Darmstadt, Germany.  He will be reporting on and representing Advanced Biofuels USA at international conferences.

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