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GM announces real-world smart-grid EV pilot

General Motors and OnStar will launch a real-world pilot of smart-grid solutions for electric vehicles this year. The smart grid will increase energy efficiency and offer lower charging costs to customers.


Hundreds of Chevrolet Volt drivers will participate in a first smart-grid pilot in an effort to increase energy efficiency and offer lower charging costs, GM said.

Modeled after nationwide programs that allow utility companies to stop and start participating customers' home air conditioning units as needed when electricity demand is high--reducing electricity bills, GM and OnStar's smart-grid solution builds on this concept, but to a much more advanced and sophisticated level, GM said.

With the smart-grid pilot, OnStar will let the utility actively manage EV charging for participating consumers. The utility can then reduce peak loads by offering discounts or other incentives to encourage drivers to charge their EVs when overall electricity demand is lowest, typically in the early morning hours.

Also participating in the pilot will be hundreds of employees of utility who will use leased Chevrolet Volts as their daily drivers, the automaker said.

"In contrast to other OEMs who are only talking about smart-grid technology, we're moving beyond research and development projects to a program in the real world," Nick Pudar, OnStar vice president of planning and business development said in a press release. "Through this pilot we will see real-time results on how intelligent energy management can maximize EV charging efficiency and minimize the electric bill for EV drivers."