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article imageColorado launches pilot program to install smart chargers for EVs

By Ken Hanly     Mar 12, 2019 in Technology
Boulder - Colorado is working to learn more about how electric cars (EVs) can aid it in moving towards a renewable energy grid. The non-profit Platte River Power Authority (PRPA) announced last month that it is joining forces with eMotorWerks.
The two companies to install smart chargers
EMotorWerks sells home smart chargers. The company will team up with the PRPA to sell and install 250 smart chargers for residential consumers. These will help maximize the renewable electricity used to charge their EVs.
Participants who buy the chargers will be required to agree to have their charging tracked in order to provide data to PRPA as to when they plug in and unplug. This will help the power company determine when it should provide the most renewable power, and how much battery or pumped hydro storage will be required to meet maximum charging needs for homeowners overnight.
Tracking the availability of renewable energy
EMotorWerks uses a system from WattTime that can track the availability of renewable energy and map it against the maximum charging demand. This can help reduce peak loads on the grid and also lower costs for peak charging. The system uses JuiceNet by eMotorWerks to monitor overall grid demand. It watches for peaks and can tell chargers to delay charging during peak demands for the grid.
Level 2 charging (240 volts) is of particular benefit for equalizing the load on electrical grids according to Christy Lewis an analyst at WattTime. Many EVs now require about 4.5 hours to charge on one of these Level 2 30 amp chargers. They are often plugged in for eight to 10 hours at a time. This allows the smart chargers to charge the vehicles when excess power is available but hold off when demand peaks elsewhere on the grid.
Preparing Colorado for EVs
The Colorado Public Utilities Commission recently issued a report of over a hundred pages on preparing the state for EVs. The PRPA, eMotorWerks joint project is an example of how in part the state is meeting the challenge of charging EVs.
PRPA Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Jason Frisbie said: "As our renewable portfolio continues to expand, a better understanding of EV owner consumption patterns will provide valuable insight and allow consumers to participate in our energy future.”
The company will offer $200 rebates to the first 250 customers who buy and install the eMotorWerks JuiceBox and use the JuiceNet interface to aid the company in monitoring their charging practices.
The JuiceBox
A recent article notes: "As many electric-car drivers know, eMotorWerks builds networked JuiceBox home chargers, some faster than most others, that allow users to program them via the Internet to start and stop charging as energy rates fluctuate. The boxes access live rate information as they let drivers program when they need a full charge in their car, so the car will be fully charged, at the lowest possible cost, before they need to go. (Users can also do simpler things, like check on the car's state of charge and set it to start and stop remotely, from a cell-phone app.)"
More about electric vehicles, Platte River Power Authority, eMotorWerks
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