IBM says communication between EVs and the grid provides a "ground-breaking" boost to the eletric vehicle industry (Graphic: IBM)

IBM, aiming to show how electric vehicles can interact with the power grid, has teamed up with Japanese carmaker Honda and US utility Pacific Gas and Electric in a pilot project to demonstrate the possibilities for individualized EV charging plans.

The project will test how EVs can receive and respond to charge instructions based on the grid's condition and the state of a car's battery, IBM said.

The pilot project will use the existing in-vehicle communications system of a Honda Fit EV to interact with the grid. The system will create a direct channel for sending and receiving usage information that could improve local grid management, IBM said.

Saul Zambrano, senior director for consumer products at PG&E, said the pilot project aims to demonstrate how various partners can help manage the expected sharp increases in power demand from EVs.

"With updated charging patterns for EVs, we have the ability, if needed, to shift demand to non-peak times," Zambrano said in a press release.

In the test, a Honda Fit EV is plugged into a charge post and then sends a charge request to IBM's so-called Electric Vehicle Enablement Platform. This platform combines vehicle and grid data into an optimized charging schedule that is then sent back to the car.

Steven Center, a senior American Honda executive, said he hoped the pilot "will pave the way for EVs of the future to be synced to local electric grids to intuitively and seamlessly manage charging experiences."