With summer heat frizzling already frazzled power grids, the California Independent System Operator, which handles the state's grid and wholesale energy market, took a drastic step last month: It asked electric vehicle owners to charge before 5 p.m. or after 10 p.m.
Battery-driven cars and trucks, tools to fight climate change, are ironically exacerbating heat-wave power outages. However there's another option beyond just pulling their plugs.
London-based startup ev.energy is selling a software platform that directs a vehicle to chug electrons only at the most favorable times. Plug in your Tesla at 5:30 p.m. on a hot day and the system might not start tanking it up until 2 in the morning. The trick, in addition to building an app where drivers punch in how long the vehicle will be plugged in, is getting an accurate snapshot of the grid.
Ev.energy's system connects to utilities, electricity distributors and grid operators to forecast demand and nudge its network of 20,000 vehicles off the peaks and, when possible, into the troughs. In a best-case scenario, the arrangement cuts carbon emissions associated with a charging session by 20 percent.