In late May, Honda Motor Company and General Motors announced a partnership to conduct a joint blockchain research project on electric vehicles (EVs) and smart grid interoperability. The goal is to determine whether EVs are capable of stabilizing the power supply in next-generation smart grids.
Honda and GM plan to develop ways to facilitate data retrieval of information exchanged between power grids and electric vehicles. Because smart grids rely on unstable renewable energy sources, such as solar and wind power, EVs could serve as more reliable power supply. If the project is successful, EV owners could generate revenue by exchanging the power stored in their electric car batteries with the grid.
Although the technology to transfer surplus power between EVs and homes is already in place, transferring power from EVs to the smart grid remains in the experimental stage. Because it’s difficult to determine the state of batteries (i.e. whether they are charging or discharging) in moving cars, creating systems to connect large numbers of EVs to urban power grids requires more research. One such large-scale experiment is based in Scotland’s Orkney Islands, where a virtual energy system uses battery storage and EV batteries to balance out any dips in renewable energy generation.
The Mobility Open Blockchain Initiative (MOBI) is an international consortium of automotive, IT, and other businesses providing the framework under which the Honda-GM research will be conducted. MOBI is the brainchild of over thirty participants. The organization promotes blockchain standards in the mobility industry.
In 2018, Honda and GM jointly developed EV batteries for the North American market. While Honda is scheduled to start selling electric vehicles in Europe later this year, GM currently sells multiple models including the Opel Ampera and Ampera-e (known as the Chevrolet Volt and Bolt in North America).
In order to be able to manage the input coming from autonomous vehicles (AV), GM also filed a blockchain patent for a system that aims to provide secure and robust data distribution and interoperable exchanges between multiple AVs and other entities. Such entities include municipalities, regional authorities, and public facilities.
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Furukawa, Keiichi. (20 May 2019). Honda and GM join in smart grid and electric car research. Nikkei Asian Review.
Alexandre, Ana. (20 May 2019). Honda and GM to Research Smart Grid, Electric Car Interoperability With Blockchain Tech. Cointelegraph.
Rodríguez, María. (28 May 2019). Honda and GM Will Research Blockchain Potential in Smart Grid and Electric Cars. Crypto World Journal.
LaReau, Jamie. (15 January 2019). General Motors goes all-in on electric vehicles. Chicago Tribune.