Cadillac's new EV: Out of the showroom and onto the smart grid

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If you visit our Electric Transportation channel, you'll see a string of recent articles that suggest the EV market may finally be poised for take-off. When mass market adoption occurs, or course, that's going to have an impact on electric utilities.

But here's another development in the EV space that will be of interest to utilities. Cadillac is touting its new ELR extended range EV (it's a hybrid, not pure EV) as "smart-grid ready" as soon as it comes off the production line. According to Cadillac, the luxury coupe's extended-range EV technology – when combined with an OnStar cloud-based connection – gives the ELR the ability to communicate with the electric grid and potentially save energy.

People who purchase the car – expected to top $75,000 when it debuts early next year – will also have access to the OnStar RemoteLink Mobile App, which Cadillac says will give them a way to control and schedule charging, including the ability to do so during cheaper off-peak hours.

“While RemoteLink is really our first smart grid service to be available for consumers, the same connection we use to enable the app’s EV functions can be used to open the door for more energy cost and load control benefits,” said Russ Eling, manager, Smart Grid and EV Services, General Motors.

The company says OnStar has four smart grid application programming interfaces (APIs) utilities and third-parties could use to develop solutions for the ELR. They include:

·         Demand response â€“ This future service connects utilities to companies that have intelligent energy management products, allowing OnStar to manage energy use for ELR customers who opt in for the service. Benefits include saving money on energy costs and enabling more efficient use of the electric grid.

·         Time-of-Use rates â€“ OnStar can receive dynamic time-of-use pricing from utilities and notify ELR owners of the rate plan offers via email. Owners would be able to use OnStar to load the rate plans directly into their vehicle and access them to schedule charging during lower-rate periods.

·         Charging data â€“ OnStar can send and receive EV data including location-based EV data that identifies charging locations and determines potential load scenarios.

·         Aggregated services â€“ This solution allows electric service providers to manage the charging of participating vehicles in a given geographic area, with customer consent. This includes the ability to control charging on a large amount of EVs simultaneously. These services could potentially result in a more efficient use of clean energy.

Cadillac says an example of the aggregated services solution would be charging the vehicle with renewable energy. A regional transmission organization would send OnStar a signal letting it know that renewable energy is available on the electric grid. OnStar then uses this signal to manage the charging of one or multiple EVs in order to utilize the available renewable energy.

You can learn more about the Cadillac ELR here.