EVs are generally plugged in for much longer than it takes for them to charge. Most of us leave our vehicles plugged in overnight – but the battery typically only needs a few hours, at most, to charge. Our software allows your charger to automatically start and stop, or simply reduce charging rate, in response to signals that indicate the availability of renewable energy and the level of congestion on the grid.
When renewable energy is available, your vehicle will charge. When congestion is high, your vehicle won’t charge. This allows you to be a “good neighbor” on the grid and keep from adding to that congestion while also reducing your impact on the environment. (Our system will always ensure that your vehicle is at maximum charge by the time you need it. You will also be able to override the system and “charge now” at any time.)
Your vehicle is probably the largest electrical load in your house. When our program has many EV owners participating, we’re able to do quite a bit of “load shifting” (the term for what we described above). Our system is able to respond very quickly to changing grid conditions (in about three seconds, actually). This means that we can reduce charging if there’s a sudden increase in overall load or generation on the grid. This rapid response allows us to improve the emissions profile of non-renewable gas generators on the grid, allowing them to run cleaner.
The other benefit of our rapid response is that the generation operators in California will be able to reduce their reliance on operating gas power plants to back up renewables like wind and solar. As things currently stand, grid operators keep a significant amount of gas generation operating to prepare for drop offs in wind and solar. With rapid response smart charging and tens of thousands of connected EVs, we will be able to avoid having those generators online, making the grid cleaner!