Oct 19 • 58M

Making sure electric vehicles help rather than hurt electricity grids

Amanda Myers Wisser and Smriti Mishra of WeaveGrid talk telematics and more.

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Just about every analyst now agrees that electric vehicles (EVs) are on the verge of a period of rapid expansion. All those new EVs represent an enormous new source of electricity demand. They also represent an enormous new source of electricity storage.

If they are charged and discharged with no thought to larger grid conditions, they could pose a danger to stability and reliability.

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But if their charging and discharging is managed, even at the margins, they can serve as a grid stability tool. Their charging can be timed for periods when power is cleanest, cheapest, and most abundant.

However, to be managed in this way, they must communicate with the grid to which they are attached. That vehicle-grid interface represents an intense area of research and entrepreneurship in the clean energy world.

Amanda Myers Wisser and Smriti Mishra of WeaveGrid.
Amanda Myers Wisser and Smriti Mishra of WeaveGrid.

One company that has made substantial recent strides in this area is WeaveGrid, which is helping to run several utility programs meant to shift the charging time of EVs. The company raised $15 million in series A funding last year, and this year launched evPulse, a program available to EV drivers in northern and central California, where wildfire risks are high. It will enroll eligible drivers in an automated charging program, but it will also offer them early warning when utility PG&E may shut off power due to wildfire risk, allowing them to charge in advance.

I've been following this market with interest, so I was eager to talk to WeaveGrid’s Amanda Myers Wisser (head of policy) and Smriti Mishra (head of utility partnerships) about the company's technology, the programs it is running, and the possibilities for future communication between EVs and grids.