EV Charging, Simplified
One of the most vexing challenges surrounding EV ownership is how apartment- and condominium-dwellers will pay for the power they use to charge their cars. Starting later this year, EVs will be able to send billing information over a power line or via wireless communications to avoid this problem.
As we wrote at the end of 2011, the HomePlug Green PHY standard enables data, such as a vehicle identification number, to be sent over a power line. The low power communications channel can send messages about the vehicle, account information, and the amount of power consumed to smart meters or to other home energy equipment.
Multi-unit dwellings are particularly challenging environments for EVs, because several customers can share a single parking spot, and the meters to account for the power consumption are often far from the charging spot and out of range for wireless communications. Sending billing data over the power line also avoids the problem of having to set up additional meters or managing sub-metering.
New Models Coming
Qualcomm Atheros was the first to market with a Green PHY chip, and startup Greenvity Community is the first with a hybrid chip that can process both power line and Zigbee communications. At the Consumer Electronics Show earlier this month, Hung Nguyen, president and CEO of Greenvity Communications, told me that multiple automakers offering EVs will launch models later this year with the company’s chips embedded. Greenvity is also working with EV charging equipment companies to similarly embed the chips in their products.
Greenvity Communications is partnering with Mitsumi Electric to create modules with the integrated Green PHY and Zigbee chips that can be incorporated into home gateways or home area networks. Nguyen said that initially smart meter companies that are using Zigbee for communications can purchase a standalone box to bridge communications between power line and Zigbee. The data would be sent from the point of charging, which could contain EV charging equipment or a simple 110-volt outlet, over the power line and then converted to Zigbee wireless data close to the meter. Nguyen expects smart meter companies to embed the hybrid chips in the future.
In the future, during overnight charging, the power line could be used to send content to a vehicle, such as maps, directions, updates of applications, or even music or videos. Utilities could send price or demand signals to smart meters, which would pass them along to EVs to instantly react to changing conditions on the grid.
Solving the billing challenge for multi-dwelling units will encourage property owners to support rather than avoid EV charging, as it can create another revenue stream while reducing the technical requirements and cost.
New to EVs? Start here
Electric Cars Pros and Cons
EVs are a great solution for most people. But not everybody.
Seven Things To Know About Buying a Plug-In Car
A few simple tips before you visit the dealership.
Incentives for Plug-in Hybrids and Electric Cars
Take advantage of credits and rebates to reduce EV costs.
Buying Your First Home EV Charger
You'll want a home charger. Here's how to buy the right one.
The Ultimate Guide to Electric Car Charging Networks
If you plan to charge in public, you'll want to sign up for charging network membership (or two).
Electric Vehicle Charging for Businesses
How do you ensure that electric car owners will be happy with every visit to your charging spot?
How to Use the PlugShare EV Charging Station Tool
Locate EV charging stations and optimize their use with a powerful mobile app.
Quick Charging of Electric Cars
Add 50 to 60 miles of range in about 20 minutes. Here's how.
Calculating the Real Price of EV Public Charging
Compare the cost of charging on the road to what you pay at home.
Electric Vehicle Charging Etiquette
Thou shalt charge only when necessary. And other rules to live by.