A pilot program will attempt to address the growing demand for electric vehicle charging stations while at the same time helping buildings capture energy to improve efficiency and reduce costs.
The technology was developed by SWTCH Energy and the pilot aims to accommodate the rise in charging infrastructure need without additional strain on the electrical grid. The three-year program is taking place in Canada and will study vehicle-to-grid charging technology by looking at how an electric vehicle charger can store energy through a parked Nissan Leaf during off-peak hours.
It will then redistribute that energy to the building and Level 2 electric vehicle chargers during on-peak hours. The program, which is a partnership between IBI Group’s Smart City Sandbox, SWTCH and Slate Asset Management is intended to show how a managed energy flow can be cost effective for both the building and vehicle owners as well as improving energy efficiency and sustainability, the companies say.
With the electric vehicle market booming, up 140% over the last two years according to a report by BloombergNEF, infrastructure needs to be addressed quickly as well.
The US Department of Energy estimates costs of charging station equipment can be as high as $40,000 with installation being much more. It says Level 2 charging stations range from $400 to $6,500 and up to $12,700 for installation.
With those financial barriers, finding ways to make the growing need of such infrastructure more practical and efficient is increasingly a priority, especially with managing energy efficiency also a concern for many building owners.
The SWTCH technology also includes financial incentives to participate in the program as it uses a blockchain to keep track of data. An app will track when energy is being drawn from a car’s battery and when it is being charged, creating a history of information that owners of the vehicles and buildings can manage on their own.
The blockchain then automatically allocates the credits or debits to the building owner and the vehicles hooked up to the system, the companies say.
The pilot will use a Slate-owned building in Toronto, which also is the headquarters of both IBI Group and Smart City Sandbox. A similar program was installed at a historical Denver building by Fermata Energy earlier in 2021.