HomePlug Powerline networks electric cars from Audi, BMW, more

We usually associate HomePlug products with straightforward ways to spread your internet connection around the house using mains cabling rather than WiFi but, if the Powerline Alliance has its way, your future hybrid or all-electric car may also be using the system to talk to your power supply. Audi, BMW, Daimler, Porsche and Volkswagen have all thrown in with the HomePlug Green PHY (GP) profile for electric vehicle charging, enabling Earth-friendly cars to integrate with the smart grid.

That integration will allow cars from the German marques to intelligently take advantage of off-peak or low-rate energy supplies, negotiate for charging slots so as not to overload the system, and give feedback on performance and other data. Since it will use the same charging ports as the cars rely on for power, it will make getting connected – using regular IP standards – more straightforward too.

We're guessing manufacturers will also be able to collect more up-to-date feedback on the car's status, such as whether it requires servicing and the health of the batteries, rather than rely on systems checks when the vehicle is brought in (or using some sort of embedded cellular connection, which adds cost). No word on when the first 911 with a Powerline plug will pull off the forecourt.

Press Release:

HomePlug® Powerline Alliance Announces Support from Global German Auto Manufacturers for HomePlug GP Specification

Audi, BMW, Daimler, Porsche and Volkswagen Line Up Behind HomePlug Green PHY for Electric Vehicle Charging Technology Standard

Taipei, Taiwan – June 1, 2011 – At its event at COMPUTEX Taipei today, the HomePlug® Powerline Alliance (www.homeplug.org) announced support from Germany's major car manufacturers – Audi, BMW, Daimler, Porsche and Volkswagen – for its HomePlug Technology.

After intense case studies and tests, the five German car manufacturers – working together as the Coordination Office Charging Interface – chose to support HomePlug's IEEE 1901 Profile Green PHY (GP) as the technology for the charging interface of electric vehicles. Additionally, HomePlug has invited the participation of these auto manufacturers in developing the HomePlug Green PHY certification program. The HomePlug Powerline Alliance serves as a compliance and certification body for IEEE 1901 and manages the largest compliance and interoperability certification program for powerline networking products.

"For electric vehicles to be widely accepted, they must integrate into existing and emerging charging infrastructures, connected to the smart grid," noted Dr. Heiko Doerr, Manager of Coordination Office Charging Interface. "For charging electric vehicles, the communication interface is established via the charging connector, and the HomePlug Green PHY provides a common communications standard to support all modes of AC and DC charging."

The HomePlug GP specification, finalized in June 2010, is a low power, highly reliable and cost-optimized powerline networking specification which targets "Smart Grid" applications such as appliances, smart meters, climate control, and plug-in electric hybrid vehicles. Utility companies and manufacturers are looking to adopt communications and networking technologies, such as HomePlug GP, to help consumers and businesses monitor and reduce their energy consumption. More details about HomePlug GP can be found at http://www.homeplug.org/tech/homeplug_gp. HomePlug GP is a key component of the HomePlug technology portfolio, along with HomePlug AV broadband powerline technology and the upcoming HomePlug AV2 specification. HomePlug AV is the baseline technology for the IEEE 1901 powerline standard. All three specifications are fully interoperable with each other and with IEEE's 1901 powerline standard, and they are designed to make it easier for multiple chip suppliers and manufacturers to deliver products to support IP networking.

"The endorsement and support of these world class manufacturers is a significant step in establishing robust technology standards to deliver on the smart grid promise," commented Rob Ranck, president of the HomePlug Powerline Alliance. "We are delighted with their decision and look forward to working with them to develop the product certification process."

The announcement comes on the heels of recent research reports from In-Stat, Infonetics and Pike Research pointing to the continued leadership of the HomePlug technology standard around the world. Pike Research analyst Bob Gohn commented, "The adoption of standards is a key driver to widespread smart appliance adoption, and our research indicates that HomePlug Green PHY is likely to be the power line standard that gives manufacturers the confidence to rollout products in increasingly greater numbers."

COMPUTEX Taipei Event – June 1, 9 AM – 12 Noon

COMPUTEX is Asia's largest IT exhibition and conference, and second largest in the world to CeBit in Germany. Today, the HomePlug Powerline Alliance will host an industry "Meet and Greet" event during the show at the Taipei International Convention Center. It will be held at 2F, Room 201 (A+B) and is open to all interested parties attending the exhibition.

During this informal seminar, HomePlug President Rob Ranck and several Board of Directors representatives will provide updates on the Alliance's current initiatives: HomePlug AV (IEEE P1901), HomePlug Green PHY and the new HomePlug AV2 standard.

About the HomePlug® Powerline Alliance

With HomePlug technology, the electrical wires in the home can now distribute broadband Internet, HD video, digital music and smart energy applications. The HomePlug Powerline Alliance, Inc. (www.homeplug.org) is an industry-led initiative with 65 member companies that creates specifications, marketing and certification programs to accelerate worldwide adoption of powerline networking with HomePlug technology.

Sponsor members include Broadcom Corporation (BRCM); Cisco (CSCO); Duke Energy (NYSE: DUK); GE Energy, an affiliate of General Electric Co. (NYSE: GE); Qualcomm Atheros (QCOM); Renesas Electronics Corporation (TSE: 6723); SPiDCOM Technologies; and STMicroelectronics (NYSE: STM).