Germany's RWE Invests in Orange County Clean Tech Firm, KnGrid

Bringing Technology to Marry Electric Vehicles to Wind and Solar

Feb 08, 2016, 09:48 ET from KnGrid

MENLO PARK, Calif., Feb. 8, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Today KnGrid, a leader in the effort to make it easy for consumers to shift from fossil fuels to clean renewable energy starting with the electric car and RWE New Ventures LLC, Californian daughter of German Utility RWE, announced plans to further strengthen their co-operation.

Smart Grid Meets the Smart Car:
When Californians drive across the German countryside, they're struck by the amount of wind and solar they see. In fact, Germany is actually ahead of California on that measure. Germans that drive through California are impressed by the number of plug-in electric vehicles on the road.

On both fronts, however, California has established very ambitious goals: 50% of its electric power from renewable sources, primarily wind and solar, and in 2013 Governor Brown signed an executive order to support 1.5 million zero emission vehicles by 2025. Revolution-scale adoption of electric vehicles is the goal and California Governor Jerry Brown has pushed for an obvious early win: use the big electric loads from these vehicles to smooth out the variable output from wind and solar.

During his visit to California this week RWE's CEO Peter Terium spoke to reporters, "I am really excited. Today our common effort to promote the energy turnaround in California and beyond starting with the electric car reaches a new level. KnGrid has the market position and the greenfield for automakers. RWE has a mature expertise in smart grids and eMobility technology. If we can combine the best of these two worlds we see Germany and California leading on parallel paths to build the energy system for the future."

RWE started working on intelligence in the electric vehicle and the charging station in 2008 by pioneering and creating a global open open interoperability standard called ISO 15118.

Hans-Martin Hellebrand, Manager at RWE New Ventures LLC based in Silicon Valley said "This is a great day for us. We've worked with KnGrid for quite some time now on our demonstration project at UC San Diego and have built a great working relationship, which now provides the basis for further developments."

Steve Davis, KnGrid's CEO and Founder, added that "given the recent decisions by the California Public Utilities Commission to approve SDG&E's pilot Vehicle Grid Integration Application, the time to move is now. RWE gives us best-of-breed technology and the resources needed to do big things here."

The two companies are currently developing a cloud-based 'brain' (called a 'Demand Clearinghouse' or DCH) for utilities to use to send grid conditions and pricing signals to connected electric vehicles anywhere in California. This DCH is the first of its kind in the world and represents a key signal to automakers. This cooperation supports automaker plans to implement the global ISO 15118 communications standard for smart charging in North America. Automakers from Korea to Germany are now implementing the standard and preparing production rollouts. "With the ISO 15118 standard in place, things get really simple for the consumer" Davis said. "When they want to charge their car, no matter where they are, they just pull up, plug in and walk away. The vehicle knows what they need and tells a cloud-based settlement engine where to bill them. It's seamless."

"People sometimes ask me what I do for a living" Davis laughs. "Its not the best cocktail party conversation, but I gauge the quality of our technology by my experience with my wife. She now knows how to 'smart charge' our electric car because with this technology, she just plugs it in. She really doesn't want to know how it works, but she cares a LOT about sustainability and the environment. With this technology, people like her can know that they're doing something real to make our world a cleaner place and still have a 'plug and play' experience. It's 'Internet of Things' at its best."

KnGrid, Inc. is located in Orange County California and is a leading eMobility company in North America.

RWE AG is a leading European utility. Its US group company RWE New Ventures LLC pursues new business opportunities in the US-market and beyond.

SOURCE KnGrid