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UCLA Forum Shows the Way for Smart Grid and the Future of Electric Vehicles

Smart Grid

October 14, 2010

UCLA Forum Shows the Way for Smart Grid and the Future of Electric Vehicles

Editor's Note: Guest article from Jason Rodriguez, President, Zpryme Research. Jason attended and presented at this event the week before joining us at the Smart Grid Summit to present on a renewable energy study being done jointly with Jon Arnold (News - Alert) of ICP Strategies.

By and large,”The Thought Leadership Forum: Electric Vehicle Integration and Deployment Into the Smart Grid of the Future - G2V & V2G” held in Los Angeles, CA (News - Alert) which on Sept. 28, 2010  was a cerebral melting pot for the Smart Grid ecosystem. From smart meter leader Itron to EV pioneer CODA, the UCLA forum brought together researchers, utilities, technology providers, service providers, EV and automotive companies, renewable generation companies, and government entities.

Given that the V2G market is still very much in an infancy stage, it was refreshing to hear that industry experts are working diligently to make V2G a reality for EV drivers in the U.S. In Zpryme Research & Consulting’s 2010 V2G report (sponsored by the Zigbee Alliance (News - Alert)), released in July of 2010, the firm forecasts that annual Vehicle to Grid (V2G) enabled vehicles sales in the U.S. will grow from 36,100 in 2015 to 296,300. Zpryme also predicts the market value for V2G technology in the U.S. will grow from $550.2 million to $2.8 billion during this same time period. The experts at the UCLA Forum also viewed V2G as being 5 to 10 years from deployment in the U.S., although they did see some of the basic V2G services such as off-peak charging as being much more feasible to deploy in the near-term.

Speakers, including California PUC’s Commissioner Timothy Simon, UCLA's Dr. Rajit Gadh, CODA's Phil Gow, ECOtality’s Paul Heitmann, and GE's Luke Clemente (among others) provided thought provoking strategies, insights, and examples of their respective initiatives and products in the EV, EV charging, and Smart Grid market space.

The forum revealed several key themes which are noted below:

·Collaboration and communication are essential: Strong collaboration and communication among utilities, EV charging infrastructure providers, EV automakers, Smart Grid integrators, and consumers are essential to integrating EVs in the grid and for the eventual roll-out of V2G technology.

·Government and utility EV and Smart Grid leadership is taking place in California: State agencies such as the California PUC and utilities such as Southern California Edison (News - Alert) are working tirelessly to attract investments and to develop policies and programs to prepare their state and service territory for the deployment of EVs in the short and long term. 

·Projects and pilots will bring EVs into the mainstream: Intensive EV grid integration pilots such as ECOtality’s $230 million EV Project will be used to make large-scale EV adoption a reality in the U.S.

·Next generation technologies are already being developed: Research organizations such as UCLA’s WINMEC Smart Grid Energy Research Center are pioneering next generation Smart Grid communication systems, mobile platforms, and applications that can monitor and manage EV charging, billing, and energy usage.

·Key players are doing their part to make EV integration into the Smart Grid a reality: Smart Grid industry majors such as GE, Itron, and Silver Spring Networks are aggressively developing and deploying applications, systems, and products to enable seamless integration of EVs, EV charging infrastructure, and the Smart Grid. 

·There are barriers to overcome and major risks to consider: Collectively, the experts expressed that even minor stresses on the electrical grid from the increased load from EV charging can lead to major system disturbances if the proper infrastructure and intelligence is not properly integrated into the grid.  

·Automakers will opt-in once consumers can seize real benefits from V2G: EV automaker CODA expressed that right now the incentives are not in place for automakers to invest in the technology or R&D to enable V2G in EVs, but CODA stated once the incentives are in place for consumers, then they will also spark the proper incentive for automakers to make their vehicles V2G ready.  

With major automakers such as Toyota getting into the V2G business and more EV evangelists and communities sprouting up, the challenges will soon settle and clean electrification of many forms will offer the best road forward for the transportation and power utility industries. By focusing on the road forward, as the UCLA Forum so clearly pointed out, EV integration into the Smart Grid can become a reality in the future.

For more information, please contact us at, subject-line: “Smart Grid Insights.”

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Edited by Erin Monda

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