A friend of mine from overseas sent me an article over the weekend featuring traffic horror stories around the globe.
Most of the stories were about emerging third world cities grappling with rapid growth, but one of them included a story about right here in Austin, Texas. The gist of the story about Austin was this: The individual in Austin traffic noted they were sitting in a car by themselves in a long line of traffic, watching as empty buses and trams whistled by.
Click to enlarge. With IBM's Intelligent Electric Vehicle Enablement Platform, drivers across Ireland will be able to use their mobile devices to locate their nearest electric "filling station" and even make a reservation to stop and charge their car.
I won't get started on trying to change the longstanding behaviors of Texas commuters, but I will highlight a new project IBM is providing some assistance for in Europe that has huge potential for, if not streamlining traffic, then at least helping bridge the gap to a more electric-oriented energy and transportation future.
The public charge
IBM today announced that it has teamed with ESB ecars to implement a fully integrated smarter charging IT system that will help manage electric vehicle public charge points, which are being rolled out across Ireland by ESB ecars.
With approximately 1,000 public charging-points currently available, ESB Networks is on track to deliver one of the largest integrated and operational electric vehicle infrastructures in Europe.
ESB Networks will use IBM's Intelligent Electric Vehicle Enablement Platform to provide the services needed to operate and manage the charge-points installed throughout Ireland.
Together the companies will add a layer of intelligence and convenience to the charging process, allowing EV drivers to access, charge, and pay, using an identification card.
Additionally, this project will provide utilities with access to energy usage data that can help improve smart grid operations, reduce power strain during peak charging times, and ensure reliable energy distribution to customers.
This project is bolstered by Ireland's energy policy to increase sustainable energy use in the transportation sector by 2020. Today, the goal is to produce 40 percent of the country's current electricity consumption from renewable energy and have electric vehicles represent every tenth car on Irish roads.
Charging cars, reducing greenhouse gases
Already on the renewable fast track, this integrated EV charging network will allow Ireland to also contribute to the European Union legislation to reduce greenhouse gas pollution levels by approximately nine million tones before 2020.
The new system accommodates the needs of all EV owners. The IBM EV platform will enable EV drivers to select convenient payment options and access all charge-points using one ID card -- a process that will aggregate usage costs and simplify billing.
This smart charging capability allows consumers to charge anywhere at anytime, regardless of their electricity provider and without the need to carry multiple access cards. Additionally, drivers will also have the option to use a mobile device or browser to locate the nearest charge post, check its availability, and make a reservation if the post is available.
This initiative, along with the recently announced Smarter Charging demonstration with American Honda Motor Co,. Inc. and Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E), as well as the EKZ Smartphone Application pilot, demonstrates IBM's ongoing focus to improve driver services, increase renewable generation, and intelligently manage electric vehicles.
IBM is involved in more than 150 smart grid engagements around the world, in both mature and emerging markets. You can learn more about IBM's vision to bring a new level of intelligence to how the world works -- how every person, business, organization, government, natural system, and man-made system interacts -- here, and you can learn more about electronic vehicle infrastructures here.