Volvo C30 electric concept, 2010 Detroit Auto ShowEnlarge Photo
The King may be dead, but your electric Volvo won't be, thanks to the ELVIIS research project.
Swedish automaker Volvo has announced its participation in the Electric Vehicle Intelligent Infra Structure (ELVIIS) project, to improve the electric car charging process.
Together with Ericsson, Swedish utility company Göteborg Energi, and the Viktoria Institute, Volvo Car Corporation is helping to develop the future of smart charging.
What is smart charging?
Essentially, smart charging is a means of taking the charging process beyond simply plugging in and forgetting about it.
While one of the benefits of electric cars is being able to do other things while you're "filling it up", smart charging reassures drivers by keeping them updated on the state of charge.
The system uses GPS to verify the charging location. Then, the driver pre-sets timing and charging amount on a touch screen inside the car, or remotely - via a smartphone, for example.
The car communicates with the grid via the mobile network, which can even time the charge to ensure low energy prices are used. If the charging is interrupted for any reason, the driver can be informed.
Conveniently, rather than having to pay at a particular charging station, the cost of any charge can be added to your own utility bill.
Volvo is currently testing the system with its 2012 Volvo C30 Electric cars, equipped with a 7-inch touch screen from which to control the charging.
The idea behind the technology is that running an electric car is made no more difficult than running an internal combustion vehicle. The driver can enjoy all the usual electric car benefits, with as little hassle as possible when it comes to charging.
"The owner of an electric vehicle shouldn't have to sacrifice any of the properties he or she expects from a luxury car", explains Lennart Stegland, Vice President Electric Propulsion Systems, Volvo Car Corporation.
To further increase the benefits of the system, the concept is being developed on a generic communication platform, to make it globally applicable. That means that any owner of any electric car could potentially make use of it.