The Enel Group’s advanced energy services division Enel X,through its US subsidiary eMotorWerks, recently signed an agreement with American Honda Motor Company, Inc. to launch the new Honda SmartCharge test program. Through this program, Honda Fit EV drivers will be connected to Enel X’s intelligent, cloud-connected JuiceNet platform, to manage vehicle charging during ideal periods when electricity demand is low and the availability of renewable energy is high, all while potentially earning monetary rewards for participating EV owners.
“This partnership proves that direct vehicle charging management across fleets of vehicles and multiple market stakeholders is possible, and furthermore it can be a source of revenues for drivers, utilities, and automotive equipment manufacturers alike,” said Valery Miftakhov, Founder and CEO of eMotorWerks.
Honda SmartCharge couples the JuiceNet platform with the Fit EV’s built-in telematics system to automatically calculate ideal charging times for the driver based on data from the grid and the users’ preferred schedule, ensuring customers that their EV will be charged when they need it without affecting the vehicle’s use. The charging time is based on factors including the driver’s daily schedule and the amount of renewable energy on the electric grid.
JuiceNet monitors electricity markets, finding the most affordable times to charge, potentially optimizing cost reductions and revenue generation for EV drivers and avoiding charging during energy demand spikes when utilities rely on expensive energy from peaking power plants. Furthermore, by scheduling charging when demand is low, the program can select the times when there is the greatest availability of renewable energy on the grid. These capabilities require no additional hardware, as charging control is enabled via communications technology already on board the vehicles. Additionally, Honda Fit EVs participating in the Honda SmartCharge program can also use any charging station in California through advanced software and onboard GPS through which JuiceNet sets the optimal charging times in terms of cost and availability of renewable energy.
How it Works
Fit EV drivers participate in Honda SmartCharge through the free HondaLink EV app, where drivers can create a profile and select preferred charging times. The program incentivizes drivers to participate in SmartCharge events, which delay or reschedule charging to match grid conditions. After Enel X confirms the eligibility of the user and a minimum of five charging sessions are completed, the customer will earn a $50 sign-up reward. Additional rewards of up to $50 will be calculated based on a customer’s participation rate over each two-month period. Moreover, by avoiding charging during times of peak demand, the program can potentially cut costs for utilities by avoiding the need to build expensive peak power generation plants or grid upgrades that might otherwise be necessary.
Honda Fit EVs will initially participate within the Southern California Edison service territory to enable the vehicles to react to the California Independent System Operator’s real-time energy prices. The results of the SmartCharge test program will be studied with an eye towards expanding it to additional EV models and regions.
Automobile manufacturers are leading the shift to move electric vehicles into the mainstream. Honda plans to make two-thirds of its global automotive sales from EVs by 2030, while a recent survey from the America Automobile Association (AAA), indicates that one-in-five, or roughly 20 million Americans will likely choose an EV for their next vehicle purchase. As the EV market continues to grow, manufacturers and utilities must continue to develop innovative partnerships that create value for the consumer and minimize electric load on the grid.
Just this week, Energy Manager Today reported how the United States will need to add 14 million new electric vehicles and 330,000 new public charging outlets by the end of 2025 to reduce carbon pollution from the transportation sector and meet the country’s original Paris Agreement target, according to a new report from the Center for American Progress (CAP). Many states are well on their way to having the public charging infrastructure needed, but the CAP points out that the country needs significantly more investment to meet the goal.
The report also quantifies the capital costs of building this new public charging infrastructure and finds that existing funding sources — such as state tax credits and Volkswagen settlement allocations — can provide only about half of the $4.7 billion needed through 2025. Recommendations are provided for closing the remaining $2.3 billion gap.