Arlington, Virg.-based GridPoint Inc., a leading smart grid platform developer, has acquired a small Seattle company called V2Green, which is leading the charge — excuse the pun — toward grid-vehicle interaction as electric-car development gathers momentum. Basically V2Green has “smart charge” software that will synchronize the charging of electric vehicles that connect to the grid, aided by an on-board vehicle communications device that talks/negotiates with the power utility when an EV is plugged in.
GridPoint is paying for the acquisition with $120 million (U.S.) it recently raised, and apparently this is the first in a series of acquisitions it hopes to make. It’s an interesting transaction, given that it’s still very early days before we see vehicle-to-grid applications in action (beyond pilots). But GridPoint obviously sees huge potential in this market and wants to get an early lead.
“V2Green’s integrated client-server solution and on-board vehicle communication device increase GridPoint’s smart charging capabilities by enabling utilities to manage charging of grid-aware vehicles in real time from any outlet within their service territory,” said GridPoint in a news release. “Plug-in electric vehicle management is essential to meeting a surge in demand for these vehicles, while at the same time alleviating stress on the grid. It will also allow utilities to optimize generation resources to reduce consumer costs and minimize the environmental impact of charging the millions of electric vehicles that are expected to come online in the years ahead.”
The company points out an Oak Ridge National lab study which found that 160 new power plants would be needed to handle the additional load if all cars in the U.S. were electric vehicles and were plugged in at 5 p.m. “However, if charging times were shifted to off-peak hours — known as smart charging — only zero to eight new power plants would be required.”