Recharging stations 'talk' to electric cars

A roadside charging system for electric cars being set up around the UK is to incorporate a technique that uses the power cable to transfer vehicle data during the charging process.

Elektromotive, the Brighton-based company behind the Elektrobay network, says that the power line communication technology developed by energy company EDF into its charging stations will allow them to exchange data about things such as billing, power requirement identification, transaction security and safety.

Elektromotive install the UK’s first on-street electric vehicle recharging stations in London’s Covent Garden in December 2006. Following a pilot scheme, Westminster City Council has installed a further 10 units.

Other councils that have installed Elektrobay stations include Camden, Sutton, Richmond, Hammersmith and Fulham, Islington and Wandsworth, bringing the total number to 68. Elektromotive is working with EDF Energy to extend the network throughout the UK, and says many other councils are looking at the system.

According to Elektromotive's technical director, Greg Simmons, adding power line communications will help prepare for the future requirements of vehicle manufacturers, energy companies, electric vehicle owners, and safety legislators. “The UK’s recharging infrastructure needs to be economical to operate, simple and safe to use.  By incorporating power line communications at this early stage into our Elektrobay network’s development, we are able to provide the world’s most comprehensive plug-in hybrid and electric recharging facility,” he said.

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