Niskayuna, New York – Nissan and General Electric have signed a two-year research collaboration to speed up development of a reliable, robust “smart” charging infrastructure to fuel mass-market adoption of electric vehicles (EVs).

The key focus areas are the integration of EVs with homes and buildings, and EV charging dynamics and the future impact on the grid once millions of electric cars are on the road.

“As the U.S. and world move toward electric vehicles, the automotive sector is forming new industry connections that extend well beyond the traditional OEM space,” said Mark Little, senior vice-president and director of GE Global Research. “One of the biggest connections being made is with companies that generate and provide electricity. As a major provider of power generation equipment and energy services, GE is in a great position to help the automotive industry bring millions of electric vehicles onto the grid.”

Several projects around the two focus areas are already underway. In one, researchers from the companies are studying how electric cars such as the Leaf can be incorporated into GE’s overall concept for a “smart home.” Nissan engineers are developing methods to connect the vehicle to the home, making it a more integrated part of the building’s energy equipment. The project will look at how the addition of an EV affects the cost of electricity and changes overall home electricity loads.

In another study, researchers will use aggregate usage data, along with sophisticated simulation and modelling experiments, to analyze the effect millions of EVs could have on the electrical distribution system.

Nissan researchers are studying the use of two-way power flow between the vehicle and the home, via its quick charging port, as a method to reduce the home’s consumption from the grid during peak periods, or to use the vehicle for emergency backup power. GE researchers have programs under way to understand how these systems, in tandem with the utility, could be used to meet vehicle charging needs with over-stressing the grid.

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