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Department of Energy Announces More Than $7 Million In Funding For Efforts In Michigan To Protect Electric Grid From Cyber Attacks

October 9, 2020
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Ypsilanti, Mich., October 10, 2020 – The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has announced more than $7 million in funding for Michigan-based cybersecurity company, The Dream Team LLC (DTLLC) to develop a first-of-its-kind infrastructure that protects the electric grid from cyber-attacks on electric vehicles (EV) and electric vehicle charging systems. Once developed, testing of the electric roadways and vehicle-to-grid (V2G) technology will be conducted at the world-renowned American Center for Mobility (ACM).

The DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy contribution of a $4,712,949 grant was supplemented by an industry match contribution of $2,349,135, which can include discounted rates, provided equipment, provided asset availability (time/use). The grant was secured through the combined efforts of DTLLC, the American Center for Mobility and the state of Michigan with additional funding coming from partners including DTE Energy, NextEnergy, University of Michigan Dearborn and Wayne State University among others.

 “The convergence of power and automotive and more broadly, power and IoT, will help us realize unprecedented new economic opportunities but will also introduce new risks.  Dream Team is committed to developing and transitioning technology that improves the safety, security and reliability of the grid by changing the way that power is delivered, bought and sold,” said Duncan Woodbury, CEO of DTLLC. “We are on a mission with the DOE and its leading national laboratories, industry and academia to democratize access to new energy markets and to de-risk investments and widespread adoption of renewable and sustainable energy systems. We could not be more excited that this journey begins here in Michigan.”

The technology will be applicable to both existing EV charging systems and new technologies like in-motion or dynamic wireless EV charging. By developing approaches to protect these technologies while they are in their infancy, DTLLC will help demonstrate how cyber technology can be integrated with charging systems to protect the electric grid from highly sophisticated adversaries. 

DTLLC’s technology continues to elevate Michigan as a leader in cybersecurity and automotive innovation in addition to being the top manufacturing location in the United States. With DTLLC’s technology, Michigan will be on track to have the first cyber secure, fully-electric roadways, V2G and utility-managed smart charging that improves the experience and reduces the cost of the EV for the consumer while bringing new job opportunities for R&D and transportation professionals.

“Cybersecurity is an integral part of the equation as we work toward developing the next generation of transportation here in Michigan,” said Mark A. Burton, CEO of the Michigan Economic Development Corporation and member of the ACM Board of Directors. “Federal investments in our companies and testing facilities through critical grants like this from the U.S. Department of Energy continue to position Michigan as a leader at the crossroads of mobility, technology and automotive R&D.”

The American Center for Mobility will provide a test bed to demonstrate cyber systems are properly developed and implemented, to ensure systems are hardened from attacks, able to detect attacks in real time, and can take mitigation actions to limit attacks on the distribution grid, the charging network, and the PEV’s.

“The American Center for Mobility is the ideal place for this type of work to be tested and validated before being implemented. ACM has the capability to do work at the intersection of electrification, cyber and connected vehicle technologies.” Says Reuben Sarkar, president and CEO of ACM. “We anticipate this to be an increasingly large part of the ongoing work that is conducted at the test facility, as not only electrification technologies evolve, but also as connected and automated technologies prepare for high-risk mitigation of cyber threats.”

DTE Chief Information Officer Steve Ambrose said the grant funding is part of the company’s strong commitment to EVs.

“Helping keep electric vehicles and charging stations safe from cyberattacks is an essential step in making the switch to EV a possibility for drivers everywhere,” he said. “We’re especially proud this solution is being developed in Michigan where it can promote economic growth in the communities we serve.”  

Utilizing innovative public/private partnerships is a key component of Michigan’s competitive advantage in developing, testing and deploying mobility and electrification solutions driving the future of transportation. World class testing facilities, like the American Center for mobility, a robust automotive ecosystem and a commitment to future transportation through statewide initiatives including the new Office of Future Mobility and Electrification ensure Michigan is the place where mobility solutions are born and where companies find long-term success and support.

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About Dream Team

Dream Team is a cybersecurity research and development firm dedicated to improving the cybersecurity and resiliency of critical infrastructure systems. We offer customers in the transportation, energy, and defense sectors unprecedented capabilities to measure, demonstrate, and manage cybersecurity risks in critical infrastructure by offering competitive service solutions for reverse engineering, penetration testing and exploitation, and security architecture R&D. Dream Team is trusted by Fortune 20 companies and across the United States government to protect and defend society through offensive and defensive cybersecurity research.

Through our DoE work, including the EVs-at-RISC program, Dream Team is working to improve the security and economic viability of energy infrastructure. We believe that by working with commercial utilities, battery and vehicle manufacturers, and the US government, now is the perfect time to develop sustainable methods to secure the grid as new IoT assets are introduced and interconnected with the systems we most heavily depend on. We are excited to work with DoE, DTE, ACM, and University of Michigan to lead this landmark program to protect and defend society.

About American Center for Mobility

The American Center for Mobility is a global smart mobility test center providing a safe platform for the integration of emerging mobility technologies in intentionally challenging environments. ACM is a not-for-profit collaborative effort comprised of government, industry and academic organizations focused on accelerating the mobility industry through advanced and scientific research, testing, standards and educational programs. Located in Southeast Michigan in Ypsilanti Township on over 500-acres at the historic Willow Run site, ACM is building on a legacy of innovation in Washtenaw County’s New Mobility Opportunity Zone. For more information, visit acmwillowrun.org.   

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