Ever since electric cars started appearing on our roads, naysayers warned that our electricity grids couldn't cope with the strain. Utilities and grid operators don't appear too worried however—in fact, many see it as a rare bright spot of new business in a world of otherwise declining demand.
That said, managing who charges, how and when will be critical for balancing supply with demand. And Honda are now rolling out a pilot program called SmartCharge to incentivize California Honda Fit EV drivers to move their charging to times when the grid has surplus to share. Here's how it works according to the company press release:
After receiving utility approval, and after completing five charging sessions, SmartCharge participants earn a $50 monetary sign-up reward, with additional $50 rewards to follow based on a customer's participation rate over each two-month period. Honda will apparently be monitoring the success of the program and will consider rolling it out to other plug-in cars too.
Using the vehicle telematics system and Enel X subsidiary eMotorWerks' JuiceNet software platform, Honda SmartChargeTM computes the best time to charge a vehicle from the electric grid, dynamically taking into account the driver's daily schedule, the amount of renewable energy being generated, and the amount of CO2 emitted from power plants on the grid. By recording the customer's desired charging times, the system enables the vehicle to be fully charged when the customer needs it next without impacting their use of the vehicle. As the Demand Response Provider (DRP) for Honda SmartChargeTM, eMotorWerks interfaces with the California Independent System Operator (CAISO) to allow for real-time control via cloud to cloud communication, enabling EVs to participate in demand response events to support the grid.