EVs done right (finally). Germany leads the way


By: SGN Staff


Quick Take: For years, the EV community has been arguing about plug configurations and other issues that have to do with the individual vehicle. I've been complaining (kvetching? whining? griping?) that it is more important to tackle the platform issues.


Now comes news from Germany of a demonstration project that tackles many of those crucial questions. Called B2B Marketplace, it lets utilities, car makers and charging point owners integrate services on a common IT platform. As a result, EV owners will be able to charge and pay in any location across borders, regardless of their "home base" utility. And as a result, utilities will gain the benefits of a single platform and interoperable standards (including payment standards). - By Jesse Berst


IBM has announced a demonstration project intended to make life easier (a lot easier) for EV owners. Referred to as an "operational demonstration," the B2B Marketplace will greatly simplify EV charging and paying for consumers, no matter where they are.


It seems like a simple "Why didn't we do this before?" solution: permit energy providers, car makers and charging point owners to share an integrate their services on a common IT platform. Underway in Germany, the project focus is to develop a network of EV charging services that are compatible throughout the region.


Designed to increase EV adoption and contribute to Europe's CO2 emissions reduction goals, the B2B Marketplace project allows drivers to charge their cars and pay anywhere in the region, no matter which energy provider they have. IBM points out that the approach is similar to international roaming charges for mobile phones. The project is based on IBM software and its SmartCloud Enterprise.


In addition to making charging and paying much easier for consumers, utilities also are expected to benefit because the IT platform includes interoperable standards and payment support. That reduces possible management headaches over financial settlement and international conversion issues.


The B2B Marketplace demo is part of the Green eMotion project, which intends to provide an infrastructure for EVs throughout Europe by 2015.


"The marketplace will pave the way for the electromobility mass market in Europe. It allows open access to charging spots throughout Europe thus making the journey with an e-car simple and convenient," said Dr. Heike Berlag, Siemens AG, Green eMotion's project coordinator.


The project also includes the built-in capacity for expansion. As IBM explains it, participants can use analytic software to come up with new or improved services to accommodate more EVs as the market grows. Enel, SAP and Siemens developed the EV services needed for the project.


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