Last week, Enel X signed an agreement with American Honda Motor Company to serve as the software provider for the new Honda SmartCharge test program. Through the program, Honda Fit EV drivers will be connected to Enel X’s JuiceNet platform, which communicates with the grid so that charging can occur when electricity demand is low (and prices are low) and when the availability of renewable energy is high – all based on the driver’s preferred schedule.
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.
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.
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. Enel X already has 7,300 EV charging stations located throughout the state representing nearly 75 MW of peak EV supply equipment.
Honda plans to make two-thirds of its global automotive sales from EVs by 2030 and a recent survey from the 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 should consider developing partnerships that create value for the consumer, use renewable energy and minimize electric load on the grid.