What is coming next for the smart home? In a few words, connected home charging—something many automotive and technology companies are beginning to tout. But when exactly will it come to a neighborhood near you? Perhaps sooner than you think, especially if the car companies can live up to hype, production, and regulation.
We all know EVs (electric vehicles) are speeding onto the scene at rates faster than ever before. New numbers from Precedence Research show roughly 2 million electric vehicles were sold globally in just the first quarter of 2022. Looking to the future, the global electric vehicle market size is estimated to grow 23.1% through 2032. Certainly, if we want adoption to rise, then we need to build the infrastructure—something I have discussed many times here on this very blog—but we also need the infrastructure in the home.
It seems now the two are beginning to collide. The BMW Group and E.ON have agreed on a European cooperation for intelligent charging at home called Connected Home Charging. The objective is to create a holistic charging ecosystem that will allow owners to connect their electrified BMW or MINI vehicle with the energy system.
The core element of the ecosystem is the creation of a common interface that combines three complex and previously separate systems: BMW Group electric vehicles, customers’ smart homes, and the energy market.
Together, the companies are spanning the entire breadth of the ecosystem, each contributing. The BMW Group will be responsible for the vehicles and charging hardware and will manage the interface with the customer with a focus on their mobility needs. E.ON will provide installation, electrical and connectivity services, and be responsible for ensuring sustainable energy tariffs and access to the energy market.
This all plays a key role in the intelligent control of charging processes. The first offering of Connected Home Charging will be available in several European countries from the mid-second half of 2023.
The companies believe it will lay the foundations for hardware and networking as a holistic package solution. Intelligent control of charging processes will initially enable two variants. The first is solar-optimized charging, which allows for the largest possible amount of electricity from the home’s own photovoltaic system to be used. The second is load-optimized charging, which optimally balances the amount of electricity available at home.
The benefits here are clear: greater convenience, potential long-term saved costs, increased household self-sufficiency, and of course a reduced carbon footprint.
This is simply one example too. Eaton and Sunverge have also collaborated to help utilities manage residential EV charging infrastructure. The focus here is on holistic home energy management and realtime multi-service virtual power plant platform. It will help utilities to advance flexible load management and orchestrate, aggregate, and value stack grid services to provide resilient, reliability, and flexibility to the grid—all while accelerating decarbonization.
Here are a few thoughts you might want to consider. Is this too much too soon? How will we realistically make this all a reality in our homes and in our cities? We must consider the infrastructure. It’s essential we consider those in rural America. Will we be building the infrastructure and charging stations that meet rural America needs? Who is going to maintain it after it is built? These are some tough questions that need to be addressed? But we can’t shy away from them. It’s time we addressed the costs. It’s not just if you build it, they will come. It’s more about if you build it, how can we maintain it after they don’t come?
For more commentary and insight, I share my thoughts on the hurdles and opportunities I see on tomorrow’s episode of The Peggy Smedley Show at 12 noon CT. Make sure to tune in, as I continue this discussion on connected home charging.
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