Eight major automakers and 15 utilities organized by the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) are demonstrating a standards-based, open grid integration platform for plug-in electric vehicles (PEVs).

The manufacturers involved said the open platform will simplify and streamline vehicle-to-grid (V2G) communications, enabling PEVs to provide grid services and increasing the overall value proposition of plug-in vehicles.

BMW said the platform is designed to help utilities manage when PEVs are charged, a process known as demand charging. This would make it possible for utilities to schedule electric vehicle charging for those times during the day when demand for electricity is relatively low, which could save PEV drivers money while charging.

There are more than 3,300 utilities in North America and various global automakers providing plug-in vehicles. Collaboration of this nature is essential to maximize the potential of vehicle-grid integration.

“This collaboration will make it easier for electric vehicle drivers to save money by enabling the utility to schedule charging for times during the day when demand for electricity is relatively low,” said Cliff Fietzek, manager BMW connected eMobility group. “In addition to this collaboration, BMW is developing technology that will allow our customers to easily control when and how their cars charge, and also to seamlessly integrate with home solar power generation and energy management systems.”

Electric utilities and regional transmission organizations participating in the EPRI platform development and demonstration project include DTE Energy Company, Duke Energy, PJM Interconnection LLC, CenterPoint Energy, Inc., Southern Company, Northeast Utilities, Southern California Edison, Pacific Gas & Electric Company, San Diego Gas & Electric, Commonwealth Edison, TVA, Manitoba Hydro, Austin Energy, ConEd and CPS Energy.

“This project is an important step in enabling plug-in vehicles to reach their potential as a valuable distributed resource that can increase grid stability, improve power quality and reduce demand peaks,” said Steven Center, vice president of the Environmental Business Development Office at American Honda. “Honda is participating in several projects aimed at accelerating vehicle-to-grid integration, which has the potential to reduce the total cost of owning a plug-in vehicle while enabling higher concentrations of renewable energy.”

Honda is already involved in such a pilot project program. In March 2014, Honda launched Honda Smart Home US at the University of California, Davis, which seeks to investigate the integration of the home with distributed renewable energy, the smart grid and the electric vehicle.

Global automotive manufacturers working on this pilot project include American Honda Motor Co., BMW Group, Chrysler Group, Ford Motors Co., General Motors Co., Mercedes-Benz Research & Development North America Inc., Mitsubishi Motors North America Inc., and Toyota Motor Engineering & Manufacturing North America Inc.