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A world-first trial has found that drivers can halve their electric vehicle charging costs using ChargeIQ – an Australian-developed electric vehicle charger.

As part of the Victorian Government’s Electric Vehicle Trial, DiUS Computing delivered a demand management demonstration project using Victoria’s Smart Grid. The project, which ran from June to December 2012, was the first end-to-end use of Victoria’s Smart Meter infrastructure for electricity demand management.

The results of the project were released this week in a project report available via the DiUS website.

ChargeIQ, an Australian-developed EV charger that allows drivers to lower their charging costs through flexible energy pricing, was the only EV charger used in the trial.

Developed over three years by Australian technology company DiUS Computing, ChargeIQ is the world’s first ZigBee-certified EV charger with the ability to communicate with Smart Meters.

ChargeIQ features Smart Grid integration and allows electricity companies to work with consumers to adjust charging loads. By providing drivers with enhanced visibility and control of their vehicle charging, ChargeIQ enables utilities and consumers to cooperate for real-time management of electricity demand.

The project found that drivers could save around $250 each year – or about 50 per cent of their charging costs – without any sacrifice or effort on their part, using grid-friendly ‘Smart’ charging technology that will help keep electricity prices down for all consumers.

Amongst other findings, the project identified opportunities to improve consumer access and confidence in the Smart Grid.

Recommendations included promotion of Smart Grid innovation, and improved demand management of electricity by engaging and empowering consumers.

Clency Coutet, Director at/of DiUS Computing, said a number of the project’s key findings could help to realise the benefits of Victoria’s Smart Grid investment and are of global relevance.

“Using ChargeIQ to manage EV charging through the Smart Grid, the project has demonstrated how EVs can be integrated into our electricity networks – easily, conveniently and cheaply.

“Using the ‘’Smart” and ‘’Grid-integrated’’ charging capabilities that ChargeIQ provides, drivers are able to halve their charging costs without any effort on their part,” Mr Coutet said.

A spokesperson from project partner United Energy, an electricity distributor servicing the core of the Melbourne metropolitan area, said the utility was open to technologies and innovations that could make better use of the electricity network and benefit all Victorians.

“The primary aim of the project was to understand the impact of large uptake electric vehicles on the electricity distribution network. The project helps make some progress towards achieving this objective,” the spokesperson said.

Craig Memery, energy policy advocate from the Alternative Technology Association, Australia’s leading not-for-profit promoting sustainable technology and practice, said that “this project has broken new ground in progressing Victoria’s understanding of Smart Grid technology opportunities and issues”.

Minister for Transport Terry Mulder said the project was an important aspect of the Victorian Government’s Electric Vehicle Trial.

“The Electric Vehicle Trial is about preparing for our future transport needs, and this research will help guide and shape future decision making,” Mr Mulder said.

“Research being undertaken through the trial will help us gain a better understanding about the timelines, processes and barriers for introducing electric vehicle technology in Victoria.”

The Victorian Government’s $5 million Electric Vehicle Trial will run until mid-2014.

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David Swan

David Swan is a tech journalist from Melbourne and is iTWire's Associate Editor. Having started off as a games reviewer at the age of 14, he now has a degree in Journalism from RMIT (with Honours) and owns basically every gadget under the sun. He also writes for Junkee and Fasterlouder. You can email him at david.swan@itwire.com or follow him at twitter.com/mrdavidswan

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