This was an exciting week for the WeaveGrid team with the first ever San Francisco Climate Week in town. In the lead up to Earth Day, CEO Apoorv Bhargava, CTO John Taggart, and Chief of Staff Sanjna Malpani represented WeaveGrid in panel discussions throughout the week, with topics ranging from navigating the arena of Climate Tech funding, to technologies at the grid edge, and designing products for multiple industries and stakeholders.
The team is especially excited to have hosted our own panel discussion on Tuesday, where we welcomed over 75 attendees into our HQ! We invited Eric Meyer of Activate Capital, Loren McDonald of EVAdoption, and Janek Metzner of Electric Avenue and formerly Lucid Motors to discuss innovation in EV charging technologies. For this panel, we wanted to bring together a diverse group of industry stakeholders that could speak to the customer experience, the OEM and utility perspective, and broad trends in transportation electrification.
For those that weren’t able to attend, here are some key takeaways from the discussion:
In order to prepare the grid for widespread EV adoption, there needs to be a focus on distribution impacts of EV charging.
- With 80% of EV charging occurring at home, consideration of residential charging impacts will be crucial to prepare the grid for EVs and offer a reliable charging experience for utility customers.
- This transition is different from other shifts in the utility industry, as EV adoption is largely being driven by consumer demand and preferences, meaning utilities must act to meet this rising demand.
- Upgrades to distribution infrastructure will require significant investment, not to mention other factors like supply chain constraints for that hardware.
- Utilities need a “yes, and” solution to support demand for EV charging. Software solutions that optimize EV charging to minimize degradation of grid infrastructure will be a integral piece of the puzzle for utilities to meet this EV charging demand.
This energy transition offers a unique opportunity to reshape the consumer relationship with energy.
- EV drivers specifically are being shifted away from a transactional relationship with energy toward an active relationship with the energy ecosystem.
- EV charging programs that reward drivers for charging at clean or off-peak times, both through incentives and cost savings, can offer a new kind of energy consumption experience in which drivers understand and are rewarded for their impacts on the grid.
As EV charging technologies continue to advance, folks are excited about the future of bidirectional charging and wireless charging.
- Vehicle-to-home and vehicle-to-grid both offer sophisticated value streams for the EV driver, OEM, and electric utility. Panelists noted that, to provide a positive V2X customer experience will require alignment between these various stakeholders.
- Though transformational, wireless charging technologies faces many barriers to adoption, including weak demand on the consumer side, higher OEM production costs than that of traditional EV charging ports, and competition with other automated charging methods for fleets (e.g. battery swapping, autonomous electric-vehicle chargers).
While a majority of charging occurs at home, the public charging experience is one area of the EV ecosystem where much improvement can be made.
- Locate charging stations in practical areas to improve the charging experience for customers and offer new value streams for businesses. For example, placing chargers outside common retailers allows the driver to recharge and run errands concurrently, while also attracting potential new customers to that retailer.
- The road trip experience with an EV is notably different than with an ICE vehicle. When refueling, EV drivers will be charging for a minimum of 15 minutes. Developing safe, convenient, and well-located charging stations along high-traffic corridors will be a necessary part of addressing drivers’ concerns about road tripping with an EV.
Earth Week at WeaveGrid has been filled with compelling discussion about how we all work together to address climate change and accelerate decarbonization. We are grateful to have been able to share our perspective and hear from other climate players as we all work to a shared goal of protecting our planet.