With plans to make two-thirds of its global automobile sales from electrified vehicles by 2030, Honda is introducing a new Honda SmartCharge beta program that allows electric vehicle customers to reduce the environmental footprint of charging their car while earning monetary rewards.
Honda is the first automaker to introduce a program of this kind, and will roll out the program to Honda Fit EV customers.
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 permits Fit EV customers to charge when electricity demand is low and when the availability of renewable energy is high.
Using the vehicle telematics system and Enel X subsidiary eMotorWerks’ JuiceNet software platform, Honda SmartCharge 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 the customer’s desired charging times, the system enables the vehicle to be fully charged when the customer needs it next without impacting their use of the vehicle. As the Demand Response Provider (DRP) for Honda SmartCharge, 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.
Honda will study the results of the beta program among Fit EV customers, with an eye toward applying it to other electrified vehicles, including the Clarity Electric and Clarity Plug-in Hybrid. The Honda SmartCharge program is available on Apple devices for select California customers, with plans to expand to other areas in the near future.
To participate in the Honda SmartCharge beta program, Fit EV owners can 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. With the Honda SmartCharge app, Fit EV drivers are able to 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 customers’ participation in the program.