IBM, Honda and PG+E to Work on Smarter Charging

April 12, 2012 at 11:17 am

The following is taken from a press release:

ARMONK, NY–April 12, 2012: IBM today announced that it has teamed with American Honda Motor Co., Inc. and Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) on a new pilot project that will allow communication between electric vehicles (EVs) and the power grid. This project will demonstrate and test an electric vehicle’s ability to receive and respond to charge instructions based on the grid condition and the vehicle’s battery state. With visibility into charging patterns, energy providers will have the ability to more effectively manage charging during peak hours and create consumer-friendly programs to encourage electric vehicle adoption.

The energy requirements for electric vehicles will challenge the current power grid as plug-in vehicle counts continue to grow to an expected 2.9 million worldwide by 2017. This project has the potential to ease the infrastructure and consumer concerns associated with the mass adoption of EVs, by adding another layer of agility to the EV charging process. This level of intelligence will help make charging seamless for consumers, while ensuring the electricity source is reliable and the infrastructure is stable.

Using real time and simulated data, the system will test and demonstrate the ability to alter, as well as adapt charging patterns based on grid conditions. This smart charging capability will enable energy providers to manage the power used by EVs during peak times by instructing vehicles to delay or adjust charging if required.

“One of Honda’s main objectives is to work to advance technologies that can address society’s environmental and energy concerns through both alternative powertrain technologies, like our 2013 Honda Fit EV battery electric vehicle, and through groundbreaking research initiatives similar to the Smart Charge project that we are collaborating on with IBM and PG&E,” said Steven Center, vice president of the Environmental Business Development Office at American Honda. “It is our hope that these technologies and infrastructure will pave the way for EVs of the future to be synched to local electric grids to intuitively and seamlessly manage charging experiences.”

To have these very successful organizations join forces in an attempt in improve the charging infrastructure for EVs is very exciting and a positive sign for the future of the industry. We will certainly be keenly watching the results of the project and wish them all the best.

2012 Electric Car Challenge (ECC)

April 11, 2012 at 9:35 am

As gas prices continue to climb and the National Average approaching $4 a gallon most people are leaning away from long road trips. Men’s Health Magazine however, is going to opposite direction. They have organized the Electric Car Challenge, which involves driving an all electric Ford Focus 3000 miles, from New York to LA, without stopping at a single gas station.

“We love road trips and this is an excuse to have a different kind of trip,” said Eric Adams, a senior editor at the magazine and a member of the Challenge team. “It’ll be a ‘speed’ record in name only,” said Adams, who expects the team to reach the Santa Monica Pier in 10 to 12 days. At each charging stop the team will run events to promote a healthy lifestyle.

The team will harness the power of crowd-sourcing and use the popular ‘charging station’ apps PlugShare and ChargePoint to help find appropriate charging stations. The PlugShare app, for example, shows 8,000 stations — 6,000 public, 2,000 home-based — along with insights about types of chargers, current availability and whether fees apply.

Men’s Health Magazine deserve credit for taking on this challenge and promoting a healthy lifestyle to the American people.

Good luck, from all of us here at Brammo Inc.

FedEx and their Electric Experiment

April 6, 2012 at 11:42 am

Since 2008 FedEx have been slowly but surely dipping their toes in the EV water. Today, the company has a total of 43 electric vehicles on the road in LA, Chicago and New York. It should be noted that FedEx are not the only company conducting such an experiment, UPS and Frito Lay are also dabbling with 29 vehicles and 176 vehicles respectively.

FedEx’s experiment, however, is slightly different as they are testing severeal different EV’s to find out which vehicles are the most cost efficient and reliable. “I believe electric vehicles are a great solution to our energy and pollution problems, but the way most cities are designed now, for a company like FedEx to use them, there’s a lot of red tape,” says Keshav Sondhi, FedEx’s manager of global vehicles.

The problem that FedEx are currently facing is that the charging infrastructure isnt good enough to support all their vans charging at the same time. “If you charged them at the same time, you’d overload the system, and there would be a blackout,” says Leon Wu, researcher for Columbia University’s Center for Computational Learning Systems, which is working with FedEx on the project.

“We want to know how much electricity is going into the charging station, how many times each truck is being recharged, how many trips they take, and how far they go—all the electric parameters that come with a vehicle like this,” says Matt Nielsen, GE Global Research’s lead scientist on the project.

Regardless of the outcome of this experiment it is safe to say that many companies will be paying close attention to FedEx’s findings and the results will liek shape the future for many Electric Fleets.

FedEx’s experiemnt is set to conclude in 2013 when the company will assess its findings… this space!

Designing The Standard of Tomorrow

April 5, 2012 at 9:12 am

Art Center College of Design student, Chris Stevens, has been hard at work designing a series of conceptual Brammo motorcycles over this last semester.  Stevens is a Junior at the Art Center, which is ranked number one American Architecture and Design School by the Design Futures Council.  Brammo strategic partner and investor Polaris made the introduction to Stevens.  We have really enjoyed watching Stevens work diligently as he began with his conceptual design of one battery integrated chassis and three body styles; a dirt bike, a supermoto, and an enduro.

In the seventh week of his semester, Stevens along with his professor and Brammo designer Greg Stroermer, chose the supermoto for more in-depth design development.  The interns in the College’s Transportation Design program are given the challenge of designing a motorcycle that will be the standard of tomorrow.  Futuristic concepts such as alternative fuel sources are a baseline.  You can see from his midterm project Stevens has made us proud with his stellar electric supermoto.

For the next part of the semester, Stevens will be producing a 3D design of this conceptual bike, which will be printed out in full size.  He also hopes to design as 1/3 scale model of the supermoto after the completion of this semester.

While undertaking his internship, Brammo have supplied Stevens with and Enertia electric motorcycle. He loves the Enertia for commuting around Pasadena, and describes his Enertia as convenient transportation with enjoyable handling."