Include Electric Vehicle SmartCharging in Automated Demand Response Programs

FleetCarma has received OpenADR certification for SmartCharge Rewards and SmartCharge Manager platforms.

In order for service providers like FleetCarma to work, products and services need to meet requirements for many standards, including OpenADR. To understand the value of working with an OpenADR certified solution provider, let’s first define the standard and the OpenADR Alliance that governs it.

OpenADR is an open and standardized way for electricity providers and system operators to communicate Demand Response (DR) signals with each other, and with their customers. These communications use a common language to deliver these signals over an IP-based communications network, including secure internet transmission.

As the most comprehensive standard for Automated Demand Response (ADR), OpenADR has achieved widespread support throughout the power utility industry. Consider how, in the summer, demand spikes to run air conditioners and cooling. OpenADR makes it more affordable and technically feasible for power utilities to ensure their grid is stable enough to withstand peaks in utilization.

The importance of OpenADR

Wholesale electricity producers benefit from the standardization of load limits on grids. They can easily communicate DR signals with operators such as utilities and aggregators. These system operators, in turn, communicate with their customers about the repercussions of demand on pricing. Customers benefit from the efficiencies which result from OpenADR in the form of stable services and pricing.

Future investments in electricity generation and distribution equipment can be delayed or avoided entirely through the efficiencies and innovation which are accelerated by ADR. As government entities, businesses and consumers continue to shift from vehicles running on fossil fuels to electric vehicles (EVs), it emphasizes the need for continuous improvement on grid resiliency, scalability, and demand response.

The risks of unmanaged EV charging for local grids

The challenge for utilities is not that electricity generators cannot produce enough power, the most daunting problem is how electricity is delivered over the “last mile” to households with electric vehicles. Local transformers are at risk to overload during peak hours, especially if there are multiple electric vehicles in a neighborhood. The transformers in most cities and towns were mostly installed before electric vehicles were either introduced to the market or otherwise before they began their significant increase in popularity.

Residential transformers are generally built to manage between 10 and 50 kVA (x1,000 Volt-Amps). A single plug-in electric vehicle (PEV) with a 240V, Level 2 charging system consumes about 7kVA. Charging multiple EVs at a time (known as clustering) using a single transformer can permanently damage transformers, or overload them and take them offline. This is a significant challenge for local utilities.

EV charging requirements are considerable and will continue to grow

Studies show that increasing market penetration rates of electric vehicles increase the risk of transformer loss of life by as much as 10,000 times. This problem is not only disruptive to the lives of people directly impacted by power outages, it is also very expensive. Some utilities are trying to take proactive action to lessen the impact of growing electric vehicle adoption.

  • The Sacramento Municipal Utility District discovered a requirement to replace nearly 17% of their transformers due to overload.
  • California and Texas are considering notification systems to alert utilities to when a citizen buys an electric vehicle in the area, and other regional utilities are considering similar moves.
  • Bloomberg estimates that electric vehicles will represent 35% of in vehicle sales by 2040. This will increase demand on electricity grids, and make power demand-side solutions mandatory.
  • Increased adoption of and adherence to OpenADR standards and EV SmartCharging can provide a reliable method to differ and shape this increasing load on utility grids.

FleetCarma’s approach to the EV load management challenge

Based on a foundation of expertise in providing technology solutions for electric vehicles, and knowledge of their owners, FleetCarma offers several solutions and services which can help electric utilities prepare for the growing demand caused by EV charging.

SmartCharge Rewards™

SmartCharge Rewards™ by FleetCarma is a plug-and-play EV owner incentive program. For EV owners, positive incentives based on gamification principles reinforce beneficial charging behaviour. For electrical utilities, the turnkey solution introduces the ability to incentivise off-peak EV charging without the long timeline, hassle and substantial cost of installing submeters. SmartCharge Rewards by FleetCarma helps reduce EV charging costs for owners and increases grid resiliency for utilities.

SmartCharge Manager™

SmartCharge Manager™ by FleetCarma provides all the abilities an electrical utility, charging provider, or fleet would need to directly manage EV charging. By providing easy access to vehicle-side-data administrators are able to understand the impact of allowing or curtailing vehicle charging at any given time based on real-time information such as battery state-of-charge. Real-time information enables better decisions and efficient deployment of demand response programs while ensuring vehicles receive the charge they require.

The importance of OpenADR Certification for FleetCarma

In a trial of OpenADR and FleetCarmas EV SmartCharging technology, experts from the The Siemens Interoperability Lab provided remote support directly to the FleetCarma software development team for implantation guidance, debug support, and OpenADR protocol testing services to ensure that their newly developed gateway can interoperate with the Siemens Decentralized Energy Management System (DEMS), which is used by utilities to administer automated demand response programs. The system was used to shift and shape the EV charging load of vehicles in Ontario. This project successfully demonstrated how utilities will engage EV SmartCharging with OpenADR protocol.

As the prevalence of electric vehicles increases, so will the requirement for utilities to manage the massive additional load to the grid. Like successful energy saving programs which operate through smart-thermostats, FleetCarma provides the technology for utilities to shift and shape load from electric cars. By obtaining OpenADR Certification, FeetCarma has demonstrated the ability to integrate turn-key EV load management platforms, SmartCharge Rewards™ and SmartCharge Manager™ with industry standard demand response (load-reduction and curtailment) protocol.

About the OpenADR Alliance

The OpenADR Alliance was formed 2010 by industry stakeholders to build on the foundation of technical activities which support the development, testing, and deployment of commercial OpenADR. The Alliance facilitates the acceleration and widespread adoption of electrical grid distribution standards. This approach engages service providers (such as electric utilities and systems operators) within the domain of the Smart Grid that publish OpenADR signals, as well as the facilities and third-party entities that consume them to manage electric loads. The OpenADR Alliance enables all stakeholders to participate in automated DR, dynamic pricing, and electricity grid reliability.

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