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UCLA Prof Uses Campus Parking Lots for Electric Car Research

Rajit Gadh with the EVSmartPlug in UCLA’s Parking Lot. (UCLA photo)

LOS ANGELES, United States

Professor Rajit Gadh’s research is paving the way for an expanding world of electric vehicles and his living lab is in five UCLA parking lots, charging electric vehicles and sending data back to UCLA’s Smart Grid Energy Research Center which he directs.

On a recent visit to one of the parking structures by UCLA Today, Gadh, a professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering, pointed out a box marked “EVSmartPlug” hanging from a wall. Two EVs are attached via thick electric cables. The box is a smart communications and control device, part of the WINSmartEVNetwork, and it is controlled by a mobile app developed by SMERC.

“This mobile app shows the system informing the user as to how many spots are available in Parking Lot 9,” Gadh told UCLA Today.

“It says there is a total of eight parking outlets and four available. We monitor the energy consumption on this box periodically and send the data back to the control center.” Among the data collected are information on the particular vehicles being charged — one may require 12 amperes of power, while another needs 20 amperes — as well as the time of day drivers arrive and leave, information that could help electric grid operators determine variable pricing based on demand.


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