Why not the car?

Taco van Berkel, manager Business Development Mobility at Jedlix

Taco will be speaking at EEVC: in the framework of the Geneva International Motor Show on March 15th. Lecture 2C, Smart Grid: Jedlix most beneficial smart charging with connected cars. Tickets and program available on the European Electric & Hybrid Vehicle congress website.

Joining forces from buzz to boost: synergy from connectivity and electrification by connected car smart charging. Why only focus on smart charging stations when the car is smart already?

Connectivity and electrification. Not the newest buzz words in automotive and in energy. Still, in both industries the potential from the internet of things do not seem to be fully utilized by business model seekers. The rise of the connected electrical vehicle, together with the increasing amount of renewable energy from wind and solar might offer a splendid new perspective.

Smart cars and smart meters

Car manufacturers are waiting for the obligation that comes with eCall in 2018 to go main stream with connected cars, or as they tend to say: ‘smart cars’. With few exceptions, brands seem to offer connected services with their more exclusive models. For these more expensive cars, serious extra payments are asked for connected services which sometimes can better be qualified as gadgets than as value for money. Apart from infotainment, mostly by mirrored smart phone apps, and 3rd party’s OBD-dongle based mobility coaches, few use cases really interact with the car itself. So is the connected car for the time being mainly a cost centre for the automotive industry?


The energy industry is perhaps facing an even bigger challenge. In the majority of countries the industry, partly compelled by the (international) governments, have decided to roll out smart meters. Main reasons include energy savings and supporting the energy transition towards renewables. Nonetheless and despite good intentions, a decade after the first installation and millions of euro’s being spend, the return on investment still holds on to little proof.

Solution; talk to the car

So how can these apparent cost centres be turned into profitable business? It’s quite easy actually. Use the connectivity of the electrical car to tell it if the wind blows or the sun shines, so it knows whether to charge or not. As a result, the costs per charge will be lower, since electricity prices are lower on windy and sunny moments. With the current growth of extra solar and wind capacity, this effect will definitely amplify in the coming years, which in turn further improves the economics for driving an electric car, potentially doubling its numbers before 2020. An important role is to be played by smart energy meters, since they are able to measure electricity use on a near-real time basis and are therefore able to provide proof for the time of electricity usage. This regulated tool will finally serve a strong case: no other device in e.g. the household will be as grateful to a smart energy grid as the electric vehicle.

Some will advocate the usage a connected charging station instead of the car. The car is connected, the energy meter is connected, so why bring in more costly hardware? The set-up of home charging by using the connectivity of the car, can be significant cheaper compared to using a connected charging station and less connected devices also mean less chance of downtime and less hassle of an extra service provider.

So, why do I think the future of energy utilities lies within solutions like smart charging services, like Jedlix and its #ichargesmart app, using the connected car and the smart meter? It is one of the few earning models for the smart meter and its settlement services. It is a sustainable third party earning model for connected cars. And last and not least it is the first smart charging initiative being a really live and available service.

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