Electric cars are nothing new. In fact, just of 100 years ago, they were considered a very reasonable alternative to gasoline powered cars from that era. Then, due to advancements in the internal combustion engine at the time, and other improvements, the economics shifted such that petroleum-based vehicles became the norm.
Recently, electric vehicles have been making a bit of a comeback, but not without challenges. One of which is “range” – on a full charge, the nominal range of electric cars tend to be a demonstrable disadvantage to those based on a fuel tank. However, when you consider that people rarely travel to the middle of a desert, there is the possibility that when one drives to say work or a friends house, that the local electrical infrastructure at that destination could be used to charge the car back up again, thereby negating the impedance of a rather limited range. That sounds great in concept, but in practice, there is the issue of who will actually pay for the electricity when you are not at your house? Or, even such specific details as to how much electricity did you use? The car will know, but how would one convey that information to the proper utilities?
This is where this research project from Ericsson, leveraging an Intel-based IVI (In-Vehicle Infotainment) system (for more information see: http://intel.ly/IntelCars) comes into play. The used a Volvo electric car and added several enhancements to make it more useful. Given that the car knows exactly how much electricity it used to charge up, it can utilize the Intel & Ericsson-based methodology shown in the video to convey exactly the right information so that, when say you are visiting your friend’s house and charging there, the KW•Hrs you use will actually show up on your electric bill, instead of your friends.
But, what do you think? Let us know in the comments below if you like or don’t like this idea or what you would do to further improve it!