A new study from Sense and Singularity Energy demonstrates 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 8-14% on average across the U.S., with much greater reductions in California.
The potential reductions in California are more dramatic (up to 43%) because 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 and this is what accounts for the greater reduction in carbon emissions from smart charging.
As 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 (TOU) 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 1100 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.
Not just EV charging
Carbon reductions from automated EV charging could have a