How would you like your electricity usage monitored? The residents on Pecan Street, located in the Mueller community of Austin, Texas, are soon going to find out. For the next five years, their electricity usage will be monitored by researchers from the University of Texas, National Renewable Energy Laboratory, and the Environmental Defense Fund as well as private companies such as General Motors.
The reason? The community has the highest concentration of electric vehicles anywhere in the U.S. GM has made available for sale 100 of its Chevrolet Volt hybrid EVs to the community for the study. States VP Nick Pudar of OnStar, Strategy and Business Development, “This partnership provides us with a unique opportunity to observe charging details with many real customers in a concentrated setting.
“We are moving our lab demonstrations into the real world. We’re gathering information from families’ vehicles throughout this community to find out the direct impact the Volt has on the grid and how to get drivers the lowest-possible charging rates. This project will also help us develop future capabilities of the Volt and other plug-in electric vehicles.”
GM, via OnStar, will be able to monitor the Volts’ usage of the electric grid within the community and see its impact, if any, on other systems. More than a third of the homes on Pecan street have solar panels, and the automaker is keenly interested how it affects the electric grid.
Other participants in the Pecan Street project include Sony and Whirlpool. They are providing the residents with their own energy saving and sustainable technologies and products which will be monitors for its effects on the electric grid.
Source: General Motors/OnStar