Proving the Business Case for the Internet of Things

Enel and Honda partner on smart EV charging

Steve Rogerson
August 7, 2018



Italian energy company Enel is providing intelligent software for Honda’s electric vehicle charging network in North America.
 
The Enel Group's advanced energy services division Enel X, through its US subsidiary eMotorWerks, signed an agreement with Japanese car maker Honda’s American division to serve as the intelligent software provider for the Honda SmartCharge test programme.
 
Through this programme, Honda Fit EV drivers will be connected to Enel X's intelligent, cloud-connected JuiceNet platform, to manage vehicle charging during periods when electricity demand is low and the availability of renewable energy is high, while potentially earning monetary rewards for participating EV owners.
 
"Our JuiceNet platform provides a strong backbone for automotive manufacturers looking for innovative approaches to improve the consumer experience, potentially cut the total cost of electric vehicle ownership and benefit the environment," said Valery Miftakhov, founder and CEO of eMotorWerks. "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."
 
Honda SmartCharge couples the JuiceNet platform with the Fit EV's built-in telematics system to calculate automatically ideal charging times for the driver based on data from the grid and the users preferred schedule, ensuring users 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 optimising 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 programme 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 SmartCharge programme can also use any charging station in California through software and onboard GPS through which JuiceNet sets the optimal charging times in terms of cost and availability of renewable energy.
 
Fit EV drivers participate in SmartCharge through the free HondaLink EV app, where drivers can create a profile and select preferred charging times. The programme incentivises 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 programme 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 programme will be studied with an eye towards expanding it to additional EV models and regions.
 
Enel X already has 7300 EV charging stations located throughout the state representing nearly 75MW of peak EV supply equipment.
 
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 reduce electric load on the grid.
 
Enel X is a business line dedicated to developing products and digital services in sectors in which energy is showing the greatest potential for transformation: cities, homes, industries and electric mobility.
 
Enel is a multinational power company and a player in the global power, gas and renewables markets. It is Europe's largest utility in terms of market capitalisation and figures among Europe's leading power companies in terms of installed capacity and reported EBITDA. The group is present in over 30 countries worldwide, producing energy with around 88GW of managed capacity. It distributes electricity and gas through a network of over two million kilometres and has around 72 million business and household customers globally.