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Europe: Hertz and IBM Launch Smart Microgrid for Electric Car-Sharing

IBM’s Ehningen Innovation Center campus in Germany is about to become ground zero for the development of an advanced personal transportation system that combines Hertz’s car sharing know-how with distributed renewable energy, electric vehicles and smart microgrid technology.

The new system, announced earlier this week, will piggyback on an existing car sharing agreement between the Ehningen campus and nearby Stuttgart Airport, through Hertz’s online self-service renting portal.

The new field test illustrates IBM’s accelerating embrace of renewable energy and electric vehicle technology. Last month, Idea Lab reported that IBM has been developing an advanced lithium-air battery that could be instrumental in lowering the retail price of electric vehicles.

The Ehningen test dovetails with IBM’s EV battery research and with its participation in the EDISON research consortium, which the company joined in 2009. EDISON is a Denmark-based project (it stands for Electric Vehicles in a Distributed and Integrated Market using Sustainable Energy and Open Networks) designed to build a pathway to mass market use of electric vehicles.

A key goal of EDISON is to enable EV users to prioritize renewable energy when recharging their cars. Similarly, the Ehningen smart grid will enable drivers to use any available renewable energy before tapping into conventional sources.

IBM also recently joined the EcoGrid EU project, which expands software-based renewable energy prioritization to cover household energy use as well as electric vehicles, including heating equipment and large appliances.
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