Honda is getting worried about the stress on the power grids since the number of sales of electric vehicles is expected to increase significantly in the near future. In order to reduce it, the company has developed the SmartCharge program.
Steve Center, vice president-Connected and Environmental Business for American Honda, stated that even the utilities can predict a lot of power demand in areas because they have history, vehicles charging are throwing enormous randomization on top of it.
In order to help avoid brownouts and prevent excess carbon-dioxide emissions at energy utilities in the state of California, Honda is starting a program for Honda Fit EV owners. The program is called SmartCharge and it is in the beta stage and available only for Apple devices.
The Honda program computes optimal vehicle charge times by communicating with the Fit’s onboard telematics system and eMotorWerks’ JuiceNet software platform. It controls the charging and either allows or denies based on how much renewable energy is being generated, how much CO2 is being emitted by the grid, and the user’s daily schedule.
The real-time grid information from California Independent System Operator (CAISO), which controls California’s bulk-electric power system and transmission lines, is shared using the cloud with eMotorWerks, Honda’s Demand Response Provider.
Honda Fit EV owners have to download the HondaLink Ev application and set preferred charge times if they want to participate in SmartCharge . Honda says the app’s algorithms “use pricing signals from the electric grid to determine optimal grid periods within customers’ preferred charging times.” When the application understands that the grid is stressed or it produces too much CO2 emissions it will send a signal to stop charging, then, it will send another signal if everything is okay and will continue to charge the car.
In order to motivate users to participate in the program, Honda plans to pay them. Once users receive utility approval from eMotorWerks and complete five charge sessions, they will get a monetary reward for signing up. They can get additional awards based on how often they participate.
The goal of the program is to reduce stress on the grid, prevent additional emissions and to let the user have a normal electric car experience at the same time. The ability for the Honda Fit EV to back off on charging will not result in a half-full battery pack, as Honda promises the car will be “fully charged when the customer needs it next without impacting their use of the vehicle.”