Photo courtesy of Kia Motors America.

Photo courtesy of Kia Motors America.

Kia Motors America (KMA) will provide six Soul EVs to the University of California, Irvine (UCI) to help develop and demonstrate vehicle-to-grid advanced smart-charging software algorithms.

Kia will provide the EVs to UCI’s Advanced Power and Energy Program (APEP) with the goal of creating the algorithms for use in coordinating the charging of plug-in electric vehicles to support grid resource operation, according to the automaker.

Vehicle-to-grid is a system that enables battery-electric vehicles (BEV) and plug-in hybrids (PHEV) to communicate with the power grid for bi-directional power flow while being grid-connected. This enables the vehicles to serve as energy storage to help manage energy demand.

"Grid-connected electric vehicles offer tremendous potential in terms of energy storage and dispersion during high-demand periods, and Kia is excited to collaborate with APEP in the study and development of advanced smart grid technologies," said Orth Hedrick, vice president of product planning, KMA.

Testing of the Soul EVs are intended to increase the understanding of how BEVs are managed on the electric grid, while identifying challenges and solutions for vehicle-to-grid deployment. The test program will help predict BEV and PHEV charging behavior and further understanding of their impact on the grid.

"We are pleased to collaborate with Kia in conducting research on these important topics," said Scott Samuelsen, director of APEP. "The rapidly evolving coupling of vehicles and the electric grid requires planning based on informed decisions supported by the market-based, systems analyses provided by the Kia/APEP program."