In an interview with Insights Success, Preston Roper, the COO and CMO of eMotorWerks, unveils his valuable insights on developing smart grid EV charging networks that further increase the value of electric vehicles.
Below are the highlights of interview:
Give a brief overview of eMotorWerks, its uniqueness and its vision.
eMotorWerks, a subsidiary of Enel X, is revolutionizing the electric vehicle (EV) charging market with its grid-integrated JuiceBox charging stations and JuiceNet IoT platform. JuiceNet enables devices to maximize charging speed and efficiency while providing drivers and fleet managers an intuitive control and visibility, via mobile apps and online dashboards. By shifting when and how much electricity connected stations draw from the grid, eMotorWerks helps utilities and grid operators reduce electricity costs, ease grid congestion, and maximize the use of solar and wind power. Our partnerships with EVSE and EV manufacturers also allow us to grow the EV charging ecosystem, provide an extensive aggregation cloud platform for grid balancing and optimization, and deliver new value streams through its energy services.
What are the cutting-edge products/solutions offered by eMotorWerks?
For hardware, we offer the JuiceBox Pro —he easiest, fastest, and smartest EV charging station for home or work.We also have developed JuiceNet to controland aggregate residential and commercial EV charging stations. JuiceNet provides real-time demand flexibility to the grid, optimizes the economic value of distributed energy resources, and offers drivers a way to save on EV charging.
We also offer JuiceNet Enterprise, powerful asset management platform for EVSE fleet administrators. Itoffers the ability to control charging station access, collect revenue, expand EV charging operations without infrastructure upgrades, manage demand charges, monitor and report on system activity, and more.
Give a detailed description of the management’s influence over the company and the EV industry.
eMotorWerks’s management team has led the charge in vehicle-grid integration by turning a talked-about liability—electric vehicles placing large demands on the grid—into an opportunity for all. With the industry-leading JuiceNet cloud platform, our team is transforming connected EV batteries everywhere into a “virtual battery” able to provide real-time demand flexibility to the grid. In connecting their EVs to JuiceNet, drivers everywhere can simultaneously save on charging costs and contribute to making a cleaner, cheaper, and more reliable grid.
Describe the experiences, achievements or lessons learnt that have shaped the journey of the company.
eMotorWerks began as an electric car company, built on the idea of converting gas cars to electric vehicles. As EV sales grew in the early and mid-2010s with the launch of the Tesla Model S, Nissan Leaf, Chevy Bolt, and BMW i3, we pivoted to support smart grid EV charging, leveraging EV load to deliver flexible capacity to the grid. JuiceBox, the award-winning home charging station, was launched in 2014. The JuiceNet IoT platform, which provides real-time demand flexibility to the grid and delivers savings to commercial and residential users, was released in late 2015.
Since then, we have sold thousands of JuiceBoxes to consumers and businesses worldwide, and we have built out partnerships with automotive manufacturers and utilities to offer JuiceNet to broader audiences and deliver even more flexibility to the grid.
In 2017, eMotorWerks was acquired by Enel, a multinational energy company and a leading integrated player in the global, electricity, gas and renewable energy markets. The acquisition has allowed us to expand and provide electric mobility solutions worldwide.
In the last two years, eMotorWerks has leveraged JuiceNet to deploy a 30 megawatt, highly distributed virtual energy storage battery within California. With an energy capacity of 70 megawatt-hours, the eMotorWerks virtual battery is active in California Independent System Operator (CAISO) wholesale day-ahead and real-time markets, dynamically managing charging loads to balance grid demand, reduce wholesale energy costs and mitigate the intermittency of renewables.
In 2018, eMotorWerks announced our partnership with Honda to provide smart charging via the cloud-based JuiceNet to Honda Fit EV owners. With this partnership, drivers can set their vehicles to charge when electricity demand is low and the availability of renewable energy is high, saving money on charging and ensuring charging is from clean sources.
Also in 2018, eMotorWerks launched JuiceNet Enterprise, offering powerful and flexible smart grid EV charging management solutions for commercial entities. With JuiceNet Enterprise, businesses can manage EV charging intelligently and affordably via features that support participation in cost-saving smart grid programs and that optimize local EV load.
What are the current industry challenges and how is eMotorWerks tackling them?
The industry has come a long way in mitigating early adopter challenges, from range anxiety to interoperability to providing enough EV charging infrastructure for drivers to feel confident in the transition to electric drive. Still, new challenges will arise as automakers, EV service providers, utilities and other stakeholders work to make this transition possible.
Eighty percent of EV charging happens at home, so providing smart chargers to meet residential demand has been a key focus for eMotorWerks. By deferring charging when electricity is more affordable and cleaner, JuiceBox customers pay less for charging, help in reducing pressure on the grid during peak hours, and lower carbon emissions. This is the sine qua non to scaling the EV industry sustainably. Everyone wins when incentives are aligned, and eMotorWerks is the first and only EV charging station provider to participate in wholesale energy markets.
What according to you could be the potential future of EV charging and how does eMotorWerks envision sustaining its competency?
The future of EV charging is smart EV charging. We see a future full of electric vehicles connected together by JuiceNet to provide a dynamic grid resource. This future has started with our efforts in select energy markets, and will continue to grow. Our nationwide—and worldwide—virtual batteries provide a smart alternative to dirty “peaker” power plants, and complement stationary energy storage systems.
“Today, we have around 3,800 EVs in Sonoma County and anticipate 10,000 in the next three years. Our partnership with eMotorWerks allows us to intelligently incorporate and communicate with these EVs on our grid. Given the continuing increase in local renewable energy resources, and the growth of EV charging, we see the opportunity to leverage the eMotorWerks technology to anticipate and modulate electrical demand to meet all of our customer’s needs as critical to reliability and scalability of our services.” – Geof Syphers, Chief Executive Officer, Sonoma Clean Power