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Green Update: Smart Grids and the Car Industry

July 26th, 2011

Parking and charging in the future, according to Siemens

The idea of the smart electrical grid is to deliver sustainable, economical electric power by optimizing supply and demand. At least that’s my definition after looking at a bunch of complicated and contradictory others.

The future of the EV is clearly tied to the development of the smart grid, even after the other problems of public acceptance—high price, reliability and the cost and convenience of charging—get solved.

Typically, the U.S. has no kind of master plan to coordinate or encourage charging infrastructure. EV buyers now have to rely on home charging, fast DC chargers aren’t supported by the automakers (and cost $80K each), and the powerful Society of Automotive Engineers can’t even agree on a common charging system and port.

The smart grid will be no workaround for such bureaucratic problems, but automakers and governments are beginning to work on other kinds of solutions to get public acceptance. Two are notable.

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