Electric vehicles (EVs) may be set to charge smarter following an announcement by the HomePlug Powerline Alliance at Computex 2011. The body responsible for the compliance and certification of the HomePlug powerline communications standard said that German automakers Audi, BMW, Daimler, Porsche and Volkswagen have thrown their support behind the HomePlug GP (Green PHY) standard that will allow electric vehicles to be connected via existing home electrical wiring to a home network or send and receive data over the internet via the vehicles' charging ports. This will not only allow EVs to intelligently take advantage of lower cost, off-peak electricity, but will also allow for remote checks of the vehicle's systems and battery condition.

Designed for smart grid applications, including smart meters, smaller home appliances, HVAC systems and plug-in electric vehicles, the HomePlug GP specification is a low power standard that consumes up to 75 percent less power than the HomePlug AV specification designed for higher bandwidth applications such as HDTV and VoIP. With 802.2, IPv6 support, HomePlug GP provides a minimum 1 Mbps effective data rate with a peak PHY rate of 3.8 Mbps. It is interoperable with HomePlug AV and IEEE 1901 and will also be interoperable with the HomePlug AV2 standard that is still in development.

"For electric vehicles to be widely accepted, they must integrate into existing and emerging charging infrastructures, connected to the smart grid," says Dr. Heiko Doerr, the HomePlug's 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."

HomePlug also announced that it has invited the supporting automakers to participate in developing the HomePlug GP certification program. The HomePlug GP standard was finalized in June, 2010, with the first certified products expected to ship by mid 2011.