Smart Grid

November 20, 2012

New iPhone App Tells PEV Drivers when Charging is Cheapest

With apologies to Steven Spielberg, “EV, phone home.” A new iPhone (News - Alert) application – developed by Melbourne, Australia-based DiUS Computing and being commercially introduced this week – can check in with an electric vehicle owner’s home-based smart meter to determine when to take advantage of Time of Use (ToU) electric pricing.

Called ChargeIQ, the app was recently Smart Energy Certified by the ZigBee Alliance as a charging solution for plug-in electric vehicles (PEV).

Because ChargeIQ informs PEV drivers of the most cost-effective time at which to power up their cars, it will help to decrease the peak load on the electricity grid – a key concern for electric utilities.

Some of the key features of the ChargeIQ technology include its ability to:

  • Save the motorist money by facilitating charging at the lowest price
  • Just plug in and operate
  • Respond to remote controls via computer or smartphone
  • Minimize the need for expensive electrical infrastructure changes in the home
  • Operate compatibly with household smart meters and most makes and models of PEVs
  •  Check if a PEV is charging and determine how much charge time is remaining
  •  Respond to requests from the driver’s utility for grid-friendly charging of a PEV
  • Support for iPhone 4 and iPhone 5 retina displays

To use the Version 2.0 application, a driver needs a ChargeIQ station and a login to use this application. Version 2.0 changes include the following: 

According to DiUS, the ChargeIQ is being pilot tested as a part of the Victoria, Australia, Department of Transport’s Demand Response Load Control Electric Vehicle Trial, running from June to December 2012. 

The trial is just one component of the Transport Department’s overall, five-year Electric Vehicle Trial, which is designed to help officials to better understand the process, timelines and barriers for converting to electric vehicle technologies.

As part of the program, two new charging bays also opened at Federation Square in Melbourne in June. Charging is free for trial participants.

Minister for Roads Terry Mulder said the two new charge spots bring the total number of public available charging spots in the trial to 16. He said it made it “more convenient for drivers to park and plug in at locations across Melbourne”. The Demand Response Load Control Electric Vehicle Trial will run until mid-2014.