Going Green News: Honda is launching a program that allows owners of its electric vehicles to get money back when they recharge vehicles when demand on their local grid is lowest and availablity of renewable energy is highest.
The new Honda SmartCharge program helps you save money and reduce your environmental footprint at the same time, which sounds like a win-win for everybody.
The program is being offered first to owners of the Honda Fit EV, and being rolled out to other electrics and plug-in hybrids, including the new Clarity EV and Clarity PHEV.
from a week of test driving it recently in Southern California.
In other words, you’ll save money, and reduce your environmental footprint by using the new Honda SmartCharge.
Electric vehicle customers typically plug in and charge their vehicles when they arrive home after work, but this early evening charge time is often when demand on the grid is highest and when electricity is the most expensive.
Honda SmartCharge allows you to charge when electricity demand is low and when the availability of renewable energy is high, just by a few clicks on your smartphone or tablet. The system is rolling out on Apple devices, and in Southern California first.
Honda is the first automaker to introduce a program like this. Which shouldn’t be surprising from a company that introduced the Honda Insight EV back in the 1980s, one of the first electric cars in the USA.
With plans to make two-thirds of its global automobile sales from electrified vehicles by 2030, introducing a program to reduce stress on the grid makes good green sense.
With the Honda SmartCharge app, Fit EV drivers can monitor their charging progress and receive push notifications to remind them to plug in.
The app also offers a scorecard feature that tracks rewards earned, CO2 saved, and other stats related to participation in the program.
Honda hasn’t announced yet exactly what those rewards will be, other than monetary, but whatever it is, it’s a great incentive to recharge your EV when rates are lowest.
The Science Behind SmartCharge
As the saying goes, it’s complicated.
SmartCharge uses the vehicle telematics system and Enel X subsidiary eMotorWerks’ JuiceNet software platform, Honda SmartChargeTM computes the best time to charge a vehicle from the electric grid, dynamically taking into account the driver’s daily schedule, the amount of renewable energy being generated, and the amount of CO2 emitted from power plants on the grid.
By recording your desired charging times, the system enables the vehicle to be fully charged when you need it next, without impacting its use.
As the Demand Response Provider (DRP) for Honda SmartChargeTM, eMotorWerks interfaces with the California Independent System Operator (CAISO) to allow for real-time control via cloud to cloud communication, enabling EVs to participate in demand response events to support the grid.
“We believe the program will be a game changer with its ability to create new value for our customers, reduce demand on the grid during peak load times, and help contribute to our company’s goal of reducing CO2 emissions,” Steve Center, Honda VP, told us.
To participate, Fit EV owners should download the free HondaLink EV app, create a profile, and select preferred charging times. The Honda SmartCharge app’s algorithms use pricing signals from the electric grid to determine optimal grid periods within customers’ preferred charging times.
After receiving utility approval from eMotorWerks and completing five charging sessions, you earn a monetary sign-up reward.
Additional rewards will be calculated based on your participation rate over each two-month period.
Honda’s Commitment to the Environment
Based on its vision of “Blue Skies for our Children,” Honda is working to advance technologies that address society’s environmental and energy concerns, including targeting a 50 percent reduction in its total company CO2 emissions on a global basis by 2050, compared to the year 2000.
To help reach this goal and advance the company toward its vision of creating a carbon-free society, Honda is implementing renewable energy projects throughout its operations.
In North America, the Honda Electrification Initiative will see Honda’s electrified powertrain technologies applied to an expanding portfolio of cars and light trucks in the years ahead.
Honda’s electrified vehicle lineup today includes the Clarity series of vehicles, featuring fuel cell, battery electric and plug-in hybrid powertrains, along with the new Accord Hybrid and Honda Insight.
Honda is working to reduce the environmental impact of its products throughout their life cycle, including reducing waste, emissions and further improving the energy efficiency of producing, distributing and selling Honda and Acura products in North America.
This includes a 93 percent reduction in waste sent to landfills from Honda plants in North America.
Through its “green purchasing” and “green dealer” initiatives, the company also is working to promote more environmentally responsible business practices with its more than 650 original equipment suppliers and 1,300 retail dealer partners.