GM made 100 Chevrolet Volt electric vehicles available for purchase on a priority basis last September to residents participating in Pecan Street Inc.’s demonstration project in Austin, Texas.
With the nation’s highest residential concentration of electric vehicles in place, OnStar and GM are signing on as an official partner of Pecan Street Inc., to help shape future electric vehicle services.
Pecan Street is part of Austin’s 700-acre sustainable Mueller community, where residents agreed to be part of a test bed for sustainable living. Other partner companies like Sony, Whirlpool, Oncor and Intel provided Mueller residents with forward-looking smart grid and clean energy products and services.
Researchers from the University of Texas, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory and Environmental Defense Fund will study these products and systems to learn how they interact with the grid. Over five years, researchers will test up to 1,000 residences in and around the Mueller community.
GM and OnStar’s official partnership allows researchers from Pecan Street and GM to study how these families’ Volts interact with the smart grid on a daily basis and how they interact with other sustainable technologies.
OnStar, which recently opened its Smart Grid APIs for utilities and energy companies, has already developed a number of grid-relieving solutions, including charging with renewable energy, energy demand response, time-of-use-rates, and home energy management. The partnership with Pecan Street will allow OnStar to test these smart grid services in everyday scenarios.
More than a third of the homes in Mueller have rooftop solar collectors, and Pecan Street will evaluate how solar and electric vehicle charging interact. This will allow customers a new, cost-effective way to generate energy, potentially powering their Volts at low or no cost while relieving some of the burden from the electric grid.[wzslider height=”400″ lightbox=”true”]