Siemens wins DOE research grant for electric vehicle charging infrastructure

Norcross, Ga., March 14, 2012 — Siemens announced it was recently awarded $1.6 million in development funding from the Department of Energy to support research aimed at reducing the current costs of electrical vehicle chargers and developing smart charging capabilities that support power grid efficiency and consumer demand.

The grant, awarded to Siemens Corp., Corporate Research and Technology will be supported by nearly $750,000 in matching research funding — an investment shared with Siemens Low Voltage Electronics, the group responsible for Residential Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment and a business unit of Siemens Infrastructure and Cities.

The research funding is intended to provide manufacturers a financial incentive to set aside "winner-take-all" competitive imperatives and set a clearer path to align commercial EV charging technology development that supports integration with the power grid and ultimately provides substantial benefits to consumers.

Collaborating with Siemens in the overall development effort are Duke Energy and Ford Motor Co. who will focus its efforts on validating concepts intended for their respective industries and markets.

The research is also intended to help utilities manage the transition to a national EV charging infrastructure and the growing demand it would place on the grid and generation capacity.

In addition to validating concepts, Duke Energy will provide input and help guide communications development. This will ultimately provide ways for utilities to manage increasing demand without having to add costly generation and distribution capacity that would be passed on to consumers and increase carbon emissions.

Ford and Siemens have a long history of shared EV development, Siemens technology being present in their early hybrid and all-electric designs. Car manufacturers have made a huge investment in EVs, but the market can't reward this investment unless deployment expands. Deployment can't expand unless demand grows by consumers.

According to the DOE, the intent of the research grants is to improve the functionality and affordability of electric vehicle chargers. In addition to supporting energy security, said U.S. Energy Secretary Steve Chu, "Developing smart electric vehicle chargers will provide more options to consumers and accelerate the build-out of the charging infrastructure in ways that strengthen the grid."

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