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IBM & ESB Facilitate Electric Car Driver Seamless Charging

IBM has just announced a joint venture with ESB for a pilot program with 1,000 charging stations. Find out what this means for the future of flexibility of payments for electric car charging and the smart grid.


Electric car charging will become easier to use, thanks to a joint venture between IBM and ESB ecars implementing a fully integrated smarter charging system. The project is set to revolutionize electric car charging by allowing the electric car drivers to bill back to their utilities.

Electric Car Driver Benefit. IBM is unveiling an inaugural project with ESB to test a flexible infrastructure for electric car charging. This will address concerns service providers and management companies have regarding user charging demands. By writing the software to provide utilities, third parties and cities a better understanding of how, when and where an electric car driver charge, retailers and utilities will be able to share a common platform for payment which will benefit users. Those benefits include the ability to bill their energy provider, regardless of where they charge.

Much as an ATM network where financial clearinghouses allow the use of different card, electric car drivers will choose ESB, connect the service to their utility while keeping their current price model. This will be done through an ID card that can be used at charging station where energy retailers are providing the service. An App will include GPS and reservation features in order to allow you to find a station, reserve it and guide you to it.

Utilities Benefit. Utilities are interested in maximizing their value and being ready for electric cars. They understand the need to create a strong backbone system in order to make the grid a smarter one. By using analytics, utilities will have the ability to manage the power load on the grid and also monitor specific charging posts to enable optimum maintenance and service for consumers.

IBM’s previous joint project with Honda and PG&E in San Diego helped the company better understand how to integrate electric cars into the grid. In many ways, IBM is well placed for that as a consulting partner with a sharing platform. Since it offers value for utilities and retailers, its deep relationships with the automotive industry, utilities, governments and cities makes the company a valuable key player in the electric vehicle industry.

This project holds great future potentials with its open common platform that maximizes market value for everyone. It fosters a seamless interoperability so that drivers can pay anywhere and bill directly their service provider. It also helps utilities focus on building the smart grid with hardware and leave the software out of the equation. We can think of it as a frequent flyer program that is open to all, using open standards. We look forward to governments and cities inviting such a project locally in order to facilitate a seamless charging transaction for electric car drivers with IBM and ESB.