Google Working on “Smart Charging” Software for Electric Cars
The Internet giant's geniuses are working on software that'll help get electric cars juiced without stressing out the electrical grid.
Imagine millions of plug-in vehicle owners returning home from work on a hot summer day, plugging in their cars at the same time, and melting down an overtaxed, outdated, and otherwise atrophied electrical grid. But the geniuses at Google say averting a disaster scenario could be as simple as a few lines of code (well, a few more than just a few). Working with a test fleet of a plug-in vehicles, part of a project the company initiated two years ago, Google came up with new “smart charging” software that can manage the charging needs of EVs based on real-time signal data from a grid operator. For example, automatically turning off EV charging during times of peak grid demand.
The software is in its early stages, but since 2007, when the RechargeIT plug-in hybrid fleet program began at Google’s Mountain View, California headquarters the company has pursued a number of solutions, like plugging vehicles in when parked to give the grid a series of battery backups and reduce strain.
The company’s director of Climate Change and Energy Initiatives (yes, that’s a real title) says the possibility of a large number of plug-in vehicles hooked to the grid presents an opportunity to introduce a megawatt-scale storage technology in the grid for the first time.