IBM announced on Monday that it has teamed with ESB to implement a fully integrated smarter charging IT system that will help manage electric vehicle public charge-points, which are being rolled out across Ireland by ESB Networks.
Together the companies will add a layer of intelligence and convenience to the recharging process, allowing EV drivers to access, charge and pay, using an identification card. Additionally, this project will provide utilities with access to energy usage data that can help improve smart grid operations, reduce power strain during peak charging times, and ensure reliable energy distribution to customers.
With approximately 1,000 public charging-points currently available, ESB Networks is on track to deliver one of the largest integrated and operational electric vehicle infrastructures in Europe. ESB Networks will use IBM’s Intelligent Electric Vehicle Enablement Platform to provide the services needed to operate and manage the charge-points installed throughout Ireland.
This project is bolstered by Ireland’s energy policy to increase sustainable energy use in the transportation sector by 2020. Today, the goal is to produce 40 percent of the country’s current electricity consumption from renewable energy and have electric vehicles represent every tenth car on Irish roads. Already on the renewable fast track, this integrated EV charging network will allow Ireland to also contribute to the European Union legislation to reduce greenhouse gas pollution levels by approximately nine million tones before 2020.
The platform will connect ESB Networks with the energy retailers and the charge-points, allowing all three to communicate energy usage and financial data directly. This will provide the analytics and intelligence needed to better forecast and balance the load on the power grid as well as help ESB Networks to monitor the health and status of the charge-points to ensure service reliability.
Additionally, the project will create a scalable payment transaction platform for utilities and consumers by combining financial, settlement, and management services. As the IBM Intelligent EV Enablement Platform is a cloud delivered service, it provides operators such as ESB Networks the flexibility and scalability to add charge-points, incorporate new functionality, and support more electric vehicles as the market grows.
ESB Networks will have the capabilities to securely maintain customer and charge point data such as energy consumption, charging location, and settlement data. This information can then be used to calculate and reconcile the energy market. With this level of financial insight, industry participants can manage regular and interruptible tariffs and calculate the appropriate billing costs.
The new system accommodates the needs of all EV owners. The IBM EV platform will enable EV drivers to select convenient payment options and access all charge-points using one ID card – a process that will aggregate usage costs and simplify billing. This smart charging capability allows consumers to charge anywhere at anytime, regardless of their electricity provider and without the need to carry multiple access cards. Additionally, drivers will also have the option to use a mobile device or browser to locate the nearest charge post, check its availability, and make a reservation if the post is available.
This initiative along with the recently announced Smarter Charging demonstration with American Honda Motor Co,. Inc. and Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E), as well as the EKZ Smartphone Application pilot, demonstrates IBM’s ongoing focus to improve driver services, increase renewable generation, and intelligently manage electric vehicles.