ELVIIS adds mobile knowhow to electric vehicle charging. Uh huh huh, oh yeah.

Cost to charge will appear on your leccy bill, wherever you top up

By Will Dron on February 23, 2012 5:12 PM

Electric vehicle drivers could soon be able to charge anywhere and see the cost of topping up added to their own electricity bill, not the bill of the electrical outlet’s owner, thanks to a new technology from a Swedish consortium.

Volvo Cars teamed up with Goteborg Energi, Viktoria Institute and mobile network Ericsson to create the ELVIIS (Electric Vehicle Intelligent Infra Structure) system, which in basic terms adds mobile connectivity to electric cars. The idea is to identify and remove barriers to using electric vehicles in daily life.

The main innovation is the use of GPS (Global Positional System) to identify the outlet at which the car is parked. The cost for each charge is then directed to the car owner's personal utility bill.

ELVIIS also allows drivers to pre set the timing and charge level via the car’s onboard computer or remotely via a smart phone or tablet PC. Using the mobile network, the car communicates with the electricity grid and programmes the charge for optimal utilisation of the grid and the most favourable energy price. Any unintended interruption of charging process is reported to the driver's mobile phone.

Smart charge timers and mobile notifications are not a new technology, though. Most new electric vehicles already come with mobile apps to allow remote charging and charging at times that cost less per kilowatt-hour of electricity.

The ELVIIS consortium has been trialling the technology on the Volvo C30 Electric testbed vehicle. Five cars have been specially adapted and testing will continue for a further 12 months.

Johan Konnberg, Commercial Manager for the C30 Electric programme at Volvo, can’t say just yet when we could see the ELVIIS system rolled out into production vehicles. “It’s hard to tell, actually,” he told us. “ELVIIS is working but we have to have more data on the system.”

Volvo is rolling out a total of 250 C30 Electrics to leases as part of a wider trial of the car itself, and will be beginning deliveries this summer. Konnberg told us that all cars have now been allocated to “end users” and Volvo will be monitoring driving behavior and charging habits over the course of the next three to four years.