American technology and consulting firm IBM has partnered with Irish energy company ESB to develop a fully integrated electronic vehicle (EV) smart charging IT system in Ireland.

The new system will help manage electric vehicle public charge-points, which are being introduced across the country by ESB Networks, a subsidiary of ESB Group.

The Irish company will use IBM’s Intelligent Electric Vehicle Enablement Platform to provide the services required to operate and manage the charge-points.

As well as allowing drivers to select convenient payment options, the IBM EV platform will enable them to access charge-points using an identification card in order to aggregate usage costs and make billing processes simple.

The EV drivers will also have the option to use a mobile device or browser to locate the nearest charge post, check its availability and make a reservation.

It will also provide utilities with access to energy usage data that can help enhance smart grid operations, while reducing power strain during peak charging times and ensuring consistent energy distribution to customers.

ESB Networks currently has around 1,000 public charging-points.

Ireland Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Richard Bruton TD said that the partnership between IBM and ESB will put Ireland at the forefront of global developments in the electric vehicle sector by using the latest cloud technologies.

"Ireland will now be the first country globally to put in place this system on a national basis, and I am determined to ensure that through continued implementation of our plan we will see further examples of leadership in these areas," Bruton added.

"ESB Networks currently has around 1,000 public charging-points."

The platform will connect ESB Networks with energy retailers and the charge-points, enabling them to communicate energy usage and financial data directly, and allowing ESB Networks to monitor the status of the charge-points to ensure service reliability.

The project will also create a scalable payment transaction platform for utilities and consumers by combining financial, settlement and management services.

The project is supported by the country’s energy policy to raise sustainable energy use in the transportation sector by 2020.

Image: ESB will use IBM’s Intelligent Electric Vehicle Enablement Platform to provide the services required to operate and manage charge-points deployed across Ireland. Photo: courtesy of PRNewsFoto / IBM Corporation.