Siemens announced it was recently awarded $1.6 million in development funding from the Department of Energy (DOE) to support research aimed at significantly reducing the current costs of electrical vehicle (EV) chargers and developing "smart" charging capabilities that support power grid efficiency and consumer demand. The grant, awarded to Siemens Corp., Corporate Research and Technology (SCR&T) will be supported by nearly $750,000 in matching research funding, an investment shared with Siemens Low Voltage Electronics, the group responsible for Residential Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment and a business unit of Siemens Infrastructure and Cities.
Collaborating with Siemens in the overall development effort are Duke Energy and Ford Motor Co., who will focus its efforts on validating concepts intended for their respective industries and markets. According to the DOE, the intent of the research grants is to improve the functionality and affordability of electric vehicle chargers. In addition to supporting energy security, U.S. Energy Secretary Steve Chu said in a press release announcing the grant, "Developing smart electric vehicle chargers will provide more options to consumers and accelerate the build-out of the charging infrastructure in ways that strengthen the grid."
"The government's investment will expedite collaboration," said Barry Contrael, director of Low Voltage Electronics for Siemens Infrastructure and Cities, said in that release, "If any company were to endeavor to go it alone, they would have to create and let the market accept or reject solutions for all the possible combinations of EV chargers, utility communication protocols and networks that exist. The resources required to take on this task would be prohibitive, even with companies like Siemens that have the necessary scaling and infrastructure. By teaming up, the companies chosen by the DOE will be able to develop standardized solutions faster and at a greatly reduced overall cost."