A new study from Sense and Singularity Energy has demonstrated the potential for significant carbon reductions from electric vehicle (EV) charging using a combination of smart home automation and location — and time-based carbon emissions data from the power grid.
The study found that by automating charging to minimize carbon impact, carbon emissions from EV charging could be reduced 8 to 14% on average across the US. The potential reductions in California are more dramatic, with a potential for 43% carbon savings.
California’s grid relies on renewable energy for nearly half of its electricity, much of it from low-carbon sources such as solar and wind, which contribute to significant variations in carbon intensity, a measure of carbon emissions per unit of energy consumed.
As other US states increase their reliance on renewable energy sources, their variability will increase, too, offering similar opportunities to shift usage to times when carbon intensity is lowest.
The study examined consumers’ EV charging patterns using over 100,000 sessions of in-field EV charging data and time-based carbon intensity data for 30 major regional grid balancing authorities for utilities. It found that charging dynamically to minimize carbon utilization was consistently more effective at reducing carbon than Time of Use rates.
The results show that smart home automation can dynamically adjust energy usage to address both grid constraints and carbon emissions goals. A separate study of 1,100 California homes conducted by Sense found that 55% of electricity usage in the evening time frame could be shifted to other times during the day or reduced. Using an automated, dynamic approach, utilities can incentivize customers to reduce peak emissions by shifting their activities, including EV charging, similar to the current incentives to reduce peak demand.
The analysis showed that most regions can achieve significant carbon reductions by automating EV charging to take advantage of the cleanest energy sources as they come onto the grid. As more states and regions increase the share of energy produced by renewable sources, the carbon savings potential will increase across the country.
“There is a massive opportunity to apply this technology to EVs and other smart devices at scale to rapidly accelerate the transition towards a clean energy future,” said Wenbo Shi, CEO and co-founder of Singularity Energy.