AeroVironment Integrates Pacific Northwest National Laboratory Technology into Electric Vehicle Charging Systems to Improve Electrical Grid Stability

Wed Mar 6, 2013 9:10am EST

* Reuters is not responsible for the content in this press release.

* Intelligent plug-in electric vehicle (PEV) charging technology controls
charging rate based on grid conditions and aims to reduce electricity cost for
plug-in vehicles 
* Grid-friendly PEV charging solution delivers benefits to grid operators and

MONROVIA, Calif.--(Business Wire)--
AeroVironment, Inc. (NASDAQ: AVAV) and the United States Department of Energy`s
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), managed by Battelle, today
announced a commercial license agreement for a technology that supports
widespread adoption of plug-in electric vehicles (PEVs) by helping to stabilize
the electrical grid -- the network of electricity generation, transmission and
distribution that powers the nation.
AeroVironment integrates Pacific Northwest National Laboratory technology into
its EVSE-RS to enable grid-friendly PEV charging (Photo: Business Wire)

The technology may result in lower-cost electricity for plug-in vehicle drivers
due to the grid support functions provided during vehicle charging.
AeroVironment will use a portion of the licensed PNNL technology in a new
prototype version of its industry-leading Level II charging systems. 

Wahid Nawabi, AeroVironment senior vice president and general manager of its
Efficient Energy Systems (EES) business segment, said, "We are working to
broaden the adoption of plug-in vehicles to help achieve America`s
environmental, economic and energy security goals. While easily and reliably
recharging PEVs, this grid-friendly charging system will also improve grid
performance, turning PEVs and their chargers into a valuable solution to a
broader challenge." 

The licensed PNNL technology can help stabilize the electrical grid by
continuously monitoring the grid`s alternating current (AC) frequency and
varying the vehicle charging rate in response. Additionally, in the event of a
rapid drop in grid frequency, the charging system stops charging, providing a
grid "shock absorber." Such rapid frequency drops, while small in overall
magnitude, indicate that a fault condition has occurred somewhere on the grid
and that there is an imbalance between load and electricity generation. By
reducing load the system can be rebalanced. 

Conventional power plants make continual power generation adjustments based on
precisely measured grid frequency in order to maintain a nearly constant
frequency of 60 cycles per second. As renewable generation sources such as wind
and solar grow in overall share, the overall frequency-responsive generation
capability provided by conventional power plants is gradually decreasing.
AeroVironment and PNNL`s frequency-responsive technology brings this same grid
frequency support capability to PEV charging stations. 

AeroVironment and PNNL share the vision that with millions of plug-in vehicles
charging at any given time, modulating the aggregate charging rate of PEVs can
help control grid frequency and support the integration of variable renewable
generation sources, such as wind and solar. 

"These technologies will result in a triple-win," said Dr. Alec Brooks, chief
technology officer of AeroVironment`s EES business segment. "First, reducing the
cost of integrating variable renewable generation reduces electricity costs for
all ratepayers. Second, plug-in cars can be powered by renewable generation that
might not have been possible to add to the grid without the charging rate
flexibility offered by vehicles and this technology. Third, the reduced cost of
electricity to plug-in vehicle drivers will further improve on the cost
advantage of driving on electricity as compared to gasoline." 

"Vehicle charging infrastructure is important for the market adoption of
electric vehicles and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles," said Dan Ton, DOE`s
program manager of Smart Grid Research and Development. "We need charging
stations and we need them to be intelligent in order to work with smart vehicles
and smart grid infrastructure to avoid potential strain on the grid and to
provide flexible billing transactions for energy and grid services." 

Prototypes of the new AeroVironment charging system are available immediately
for beta testing. The prototypes include Bluetooth wireless connectivity for
data streaming and local control functions. Contact for

About AeroVironment, Inc.

AeroVironment is a technology solutions provider that designs, develops,
produces, operates and supports an advanced portfolio of electric transportation
solutions and electric-powered Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS). AeroVironment`s
power cycling and test systems provide EV developers and EV battery
manufacturers with market-leading simulation and cycling capabilities.
AeroVironment`s industrial electric vehicle charging systems support thousands
of electric materials handling vehicles in mission-critical supply chains for
Fortune 500 enterprises. AeroVironment`s comprehensive EV charging solutions
include EV home charging, public charging, fast charging, data collection,
grid-integrated communications and complete installation, training and support
services for consumers, automakers, utilities, government agencies and
businesses. Agencies of the U.S. Department of Defense and allied military
services use the company`s electric-powered, hand-launched unmanned aircraft
systems to provide situational awareness to tactical operating units through
real-time, airborne reconnaissance, surveillance and communication. More
information is available at and 

About Pacific Northwest National Laboratory

Interdisciplinary teams at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory address many of
America's most pressing issues in energy, the environment and national security
through advances in basic and applied science. PNNL employs 4,500 staff, has an
annual budget of nearly $1 billion, and has been managed for the U.S. Department
of Energy by Ohio-based Battelle since the laboratory's inception in 1965. For
more information, visit the PNNL News Center, or follow PNNL on Facebook,
LinkedIn and Twitter. 

Safe Harbor Statement

Certain statements in this press release may constitute "forward-looking
statements" as that term is defined in the Private Securities Litigation Reform
Act of 1995. These statements are made on the basis of current expectations,
forecasts and assumptions that involve risks and uncertainties, including, but
not limited to, economic, competitive, governmental and technological factors
outside of our control, that may cause our business, strategy or actual results
to differ materially from those expressed or implied. Factors that could cause
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the reports we file with the Securities and Exchange Commission. We do not
intend, and undertake no obligation, to update any forward-looking statements,
whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise. 

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AeroVironment, Inc.
Steven Gitlin, +1-626-357-9983
Battelle & Pacific Northwest National Laboratory
Greg Koller, +1-509-372-4864

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