As Google announced it is looking for vehicle-to-grid technologies to invest in Wednesday, electric-car startup Tesla Motors and San Francisco-based utility Pacific Gas and Electric said they are partnering to develop a smart charging technology.
While the companies called the smart charging a "vehicle-to-grid" technology, it actually does not transfer electricity from vehicles to the grid.
Instead, the misnamed technology would enable better communication with the grid so that the amount of electricity going into charging an electric vehicle would vary depending on the grid's needs. In other words, vehicles would charge faster when there's an electricity surplus and slower when demand for electricity is higher.
Such technology "is one of the most promising solutions to help meet our growing energy needs while reducing the transportation sector's impact on the environment," said Brad Whitcomb, vice president of consumer products and services for PG&E, in a press release.
Tesla Chief Technology Officer JB Straubel said the partnership could result in reduced electricity costs for customers while encouraging more renewable energy on the grid, because charging times could be matched to when wind- and solar-power plants are producing electricity.
PG&E spokesperson Jennifer Zerwer said the timing of the announcement to match Google's was a coincidence.