IBM and EVs

One of the interesting aspects of the proliferation of electric vehicles is how the automotive infrastructure begins to take on new players, or at least players that are not ordinarily top of mind when thinking about the industry.

One of the interesting aspects of the proliferation of electric vehicles is how the automotive infrastructure begins to take on new players, or at least players that are not ordinarily top of mind when thinking about the industry. Recently we saw GE collaborating with Nissan.

Now it is IBM getting into the picture.

IBM Research in Zurich has announced that it is working with EKZ, the electrical utility in the Canton of Zurich, on an app that allows users to collect information on their EVs’ states of charge as well as to charge their vehicle at a specific point in time and even from power that is generated via a renewable means.

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IBM Research—Zurich

In addition to the app (which runs on smart phones, tablets, etc.), there is a data recording device created by Zurich University of Applied Sciences. It is installed in the vehicle and communicates via a cell network to an IBM cloud based on IBM BladeCenters running DB2 and WebSphere. The information includes the EV battery charge level, location, and power source. Based on the information, the user can determine whether they need to charge their vehicle.

On the utility end, at least in the pilot program, there is real-time production data from an EKZ photovoltaic solar panel power station that is transmitted to the cloud. If so programmed, a car can be charged when solar-based electricity is being generated (thereby staying more green).

According to Dieter Gantebein, leader of the Smart Grid research project at IBM Research-Zurich, “This service will make electric vehicles more attractive to consumers by taking into consideration their preferences, while still factoring in cost and overall convenience.

“In this pilot, the real-time analysis of supply and demand together with a control algorithm will create a dynamic incentive for a sustainable way to change an electric vehicles’ battery, putting us another step closer to establishing a cleaner transport system.”

As the IBM tagline has it, it is about a “smarter planet.”