Utilidata, University of Michigan Partner on EV Charging Study Using Distributed AI

By Battery Power Online Staff

June 16, 2023 | Utilidata and the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute (UMTRI) have launched a research partnership to study the relationship between electric vehicle (EV) driving and charging behaviors to better understand how those behaviors impact the electric grid. Using Utilidata’s smart grid chips, researchers have installed the technology on several EV charging stations across University of Michigan’s (U-M) campus to collect data on the impact on the grid.

Utilidata’s smart grid chip, powered by the NVIDIA Jetson platform, is a new distributed AI platform installed alongside electric meters to integrate more distributed energy resources (DERs) including solar, battery storage, and EVs and enhance resiliency of the electric grid. Leveraging NVIDIA’s accelerated computing and AI technology, the smart grid chip collects and analyzes large amounts of data at the edge of the grid to provide utilities with real-time visibility of grid conditions.

For this project, the chips are collecting real-time voltage, current, and power data at the edge of the grid, allowing researchers to analyze and detect EV charging patterns at each location. The data will be analyzed alongside vehicle data from a group of participants within the research study who have a vehicle monitoring device installed on their EV. Data from the monitoring device includes start and stop time for charging, location of charging, trips taken, and acceleration/deceleration.

“As more people invest in electric vehicles, our electric grid needs to be ready to support the influx in energy demand. We’re thrilled to have partners like UMTRI whose research and studies have made major, lasting impacts on the transportation industry,” said Josh Brumberger, Utilidata’s Chief Executive Officer, in a press release. “Access to real-time insights of when EVs are charging will help utilities identify charging locations and design better EV programs for customers.”

Utilidata expects that closely analyzing driving and charging behavior will lead to a better understanding of how to manage EV demand on the grid and help utilities develop customer smart charging programs. As UMTRI researchers continue to collect and analyze data, they’ll have access to the recently announced U-M Electric Vehicle Center for further collaboration.

“As we transition to electric transportation, the industry needs cutting edge technologies, like Utilidata’s smart grid chip, to meet the moment and bring us into the future”, said Jim Sayer, UMTRI director, in the same press release. “Partnering with Utilidata allows us to combine their energy and grid expertise with our decades of experience in conducting large scale research projects, data collection, and deployments that lead to a safer, more efficient, and equitable transportation and mobility future.”

Results from the UMTRI study are anticipated later this year.