IBM today announced it has partnered with ESB Networks to deploy a “smarter” electric vehicle charging system to manage about 1,000 public charging points across Ireland, allowing EV drivers to access, charge and pay using an identification card.
The project will also provide utilities with access to energy-usage data that IBM says can help improve smart grid operations and reduce power strain during peak charging times.
ESB — which is responsible for the roll out of EV infrastructure in Ireland and the operation of supporting IT systems — will use IBM’s cloud-based Intelligent Electric Vehicle Enablement Platform to operate and manage the charge points.
The IBM platform will give EV drivers payment options and access to all charge points using one ID card, which IBM says will aggregate usage costs and simplify billing. The smart-charging capability allows consumers to charge EVs anywhere at anytime, regardless of their electricity provider and without using multiple access cards.
Additionally, drivers will also have the option to use a mobile device or browser to locate the nearest charge post, check its availability and make a reservation if the post is available.
The platform will connect ESB with the energy retailers and the charge points, allowing all three to communicate energy usage and financial data directly. The companies say this will provide the analytics and intelligence needed to better forecast and balance the load on the power grid as well as help ESB monitor the health and status of the charge points to ensure service reliability.
IBM says the cloud-based platform gives ESB the flexibility and scalability to add charge points, incorporate new functionality and support more EVs as the market grows.
According to ESB, the project is one of the largest integrated and operational EV infrastructures in Europe.
Ireland has set a goal to produce 40 percent of the country’s current electricity consumption from renewable energy and have electric vehicles represent every 10th car on Irish roads by 2020.
The EV charging network will allow Ireland to also contribute to the European Union legislation to reduce greenhouse gasses by about 9 million tons before 2020.
In April, IBM, American Honda Motor Co. and Pacific Gas and Electric Company announced a smarter charging pilot project to allow communication between EVs and the power grid.