University of California, San Diego

Smart Cars Meet Smart Chargers

The Intelligent Charging project demonstrates the nation's most significant advancement in vehicle charging to date: Bi-directional communication between the car and the charger.

Call it an electronic meeting of the minds: Smart cars will meet smart chargers in the nation's first demonstration of the next generation of "Smart Cars." Known as the Intelligent Charging Project, the California Energy Commission-funded endeavor brings together smart fortwo electric drive from Daimler, electric vehicle charging stations supplied by RWE - Germany's second largest utility - and the University of California, San Diego as the demonstration site.

"We are truly excited to participate in this project which represents the future of electric vehicle transportation," said Gary C. Matthews, UC San Diego vice chancellor for Resource Management and Planning. "UC San Diego is the ideal place to demonstrate this type of innovative technology as it complements our existing sustainability operations and research efforts, while supporting the university and the state's efforts to promote clean energy transportation."

As part of the project, Daimler will offer affordable leases on the smart fortwo electric drive to interested students, faculty and staff who will be part of consumer driving, charging and behavior studies. The cars are built to be fully compatible with the use cases of the global standard to be implemented in 2017 by the International Standards Organization (ISO) known as ISO 15118. This new standard addresses the "vehicle to grid" communication interface, which paves the way toward one coherent system that better integrates electric vehicles with the power grid. This formalized communication is required to identify and authenticate a vehicle, coordinate the charging process, handle the billing, and is prepared to support any additional services such as remote diagnostics, navigation system updates and entertainment.

"This is the first time a global standard defines intelligent charging," said Werner Preuschoff, senior manager for user Interaction and SmartCharging at Daimler. "Now, the car and the grid will be able to communicate to each other in real time to determine grid capacity and customer needs."

The electric vehicle charging stations supplied by RWE are the only charging stations in the world currently certified for the new ISO 15118 standard. By the end of April 2014, UC San Diego is expected to have 13 RWE Level 2 eStation Smart Systems each consisting of two charging outlets for a total of 26 outlets. Level 2 electric vehicle charging systems use 208-240 volt power and typically provide 10 to 20 miles of range for each hour of charging for a passenger vehicle.

"These are the only chargers that enable the bi-directional communication that is critical for vehicle to grid communications," said Joerg Lohr, RWE project manager. "With our ISO 15118 components, we enable standard Level 2 chargers to be intelligent."

He added: "Each charging outlet acts independently as well, so individual drivers will be able to carry out different communications on the same charger."

In addition to the RWE Level 2 chargers, UC San Diego will also have three publicly accessible DC fast chargers from RWE, which typically provide 60 to 80 miles of range in just 20 minutes of charging. The RWE chargers will complement the university's existing 23 chargers, giving the campus the largest, most diverse range of electric vehicle charging stations at any university in the world.

The RWE chargers have been funded by a $300,000 California Energy Commission grant with cost sharing from RWE and San Diego Gas & Electric. San Diego County-based small business Alternative Energy Systems Consulting, Inc., received the commission monies to purchase and install the RWE chargers. KnGrid, a California-based small business, is the mobility operator, handling the pricing and billing for use of the chargers. RWE and KnGrid will operate the network of charging stations with RWE's own state-of-the-art IT architecture for grid-friendly electric vehicle charging with more than 4,000 connected, publicly accessible charging outlets globally.

Recognized as a leader in clean transportation, nearly half of UC San Diego's fleet of more than 800 vehicles has been converted to near-zero emission vehicles. Diesel fuel has been replaced with ultra-low sulfur biodiesel, and many buses, street sweepers, cars and trucks have been converted to run on compressed natural gas. The fleet also includes seven electric vehicles including two smart fortwo electric drive and more than 50 hybrid-electric vehicles. The university's "green fleet" was ranked 14th overall in the nation and received the highest ranking of any university by Government Green Fleet in 2012.

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About UC San Diego
The University of California, San Diego is a student-centered, research-focused, service-oriented public institution that provides opportunity for all. Recognized as one of the top 15 research universities worldwide, a culture of collaboration sparks discoveries that advance society and drive economic impact. Our students, who learn from Nobel laureates, MacArthur fellows and National Academy members, are committed to public service. For the fourth consecutive year, UC San Diego has been ranked first in the nation based on research, civic engagement and social mobility. We are one campus with multiple pillars of excellence, a top ten public university that is transforming lives, shaping new disciplines and advancing the frontiers of knowledge. Learn more at

About Daimler
Daimler AG is one of the world's most successful automotive companies. With its divisions Mercedes-Benz Cars, Daimler Trucks, Mercedes-Benz Vans, Daimler Buses and Daimler Financial Services, the Daimler Group is one of the biggest producers of premium cars and the world's biggest manufacturer of commercial vehicles with a global reach. Daimler Financial Services provides financing, leasing, fleet management, insurance and innovative mobility services. The company's founders, Gottlieb Daimler and Carl Benz, made history with the invention of the automobile in the year 1886. As a pioneer of automotive engineering, Daimler continues to shape the future of mobility today: The Group's focus is on innovative and green technologies as well as on safe and superior automobiles that appeal to and fascinate its customers. For many years now, Daimler has been investing continually in the development of alternative drive systems with the goal of making emission-free driving possible in the long term. So in addition to vehicles with hybrid drive, Daimler now has the broadest range of locally emission-free electric vehicles powered by batteries and fuel cells. This is just one example of how Daimler willingly accepts the challenge of meeting its responsibility towards society and the environment. Daimler sells its vehicles and services in nearly all the countries of the world and has production facilities on five continents. Its current brand portfolio includes, in addition to the world's most valuable premium automotive brand, Mercedes-Benz, the brands smart, Freightliner, Western Star, BharatBenz, Fuso, Setra and Thomas Built Buses. The company is listed on the stock exchanges of Frankfurt and Stuttgart (stock exchange symbol DAI). In 2013, the Group sold 2.35 million vehicles and employed a workforce of 274,616 people; revenue totaled €118.0 billion and EBIT amounted to €10.8 billion.

About RWE
RWE Effizienz GmbH is a service provider for energy efficiency infrastructure and a subsidiary of the German utility company RWE. It helps customers save money and protect the environment by offering everything from e-mobility down to home automation with RWE Smart Home. In Europe, RWE operates about 3,000 smart charging points. RWE Effizienz takes an all-inclusive approach to energy efficiency, setting standards through innovative ideas and new products. The company enhances public awareness of energy efficiency by providing information and practical energy-saving advice. For key facts and figures, go to and

Categories: Transportation

Tags: Daimler, Electric vehicles, intelligent charging, RWE, smart chargers, smart fortwo electric drive, UC San Diego

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Judy L. Piercey
University of California, San Diego