Duke Energy, a utility that says it’s eager to understand how solar, wind and electric vehicles will affect its electricity business, is testing a variety of technologies including a new wireless EV charging system.
The North Carolina-based utility is among several companies and organizations, including Google and Hertz Rent-a-Car, that are testing Evatran’s Plugless Power EV charging system.
The system, which was officially launched in June, allows a driver to park a Plugless Power-equipped electric car over a targeted area, where charging starts automatically.
Nissan, Chevrolet, Yazaki, Green Gears and Bosch have partnered with Evatran to launch the Plugless L2 system. Nissan and Chevrolet are retrofitting the systems into their EV models, the Leaf and Volt. Bosch Automotive is the installation partner and Green Gears is an installer for the system’s vehicle adapter.
Mike Rowand, director of technology development at Duke, told Forbes the company is trying to determine what the technologies being developed for EVs will mean for the rest of the grid and whether it makes sense for the utility to offer charging instructure systems in addition to the electricity.
The rising demand for solar energy and the introduction of EVs has prompted other companies to collaborate on smart grid projects. For instance, GM’s OnStar is working on a project with TimberRock Energy Solutions that uses aggregation software and solar charging canopies with integrated storage to manage the flow of solar power to benefit the electric grid. It will be the first “real-world” use of OnStar’s smart grid technology.
TimberRock will monitor the output of its solar charging stations, how much stored energy is available and when it can sell energy back to the grid to help meet peak demand. To help balance this system, TimberRock will then manage its fleet of four Chevrolet Volts to help regulate energy flow, a practice known as market-based regulation.