Con Edison, General Motors partner to test EV chargers, clean energy tech

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New York Construction Report staff editor

Con Edison and GM Energy are collaborating on a pilot study to test the ability of electric vehicle (EV) chargers and other customer-owned equipment to record energy usage so the information can be used to measure charging activity and behavior.

This pilot will evaluate the ability of EV chargers and other equipment to distinguish between electricity used to charge a vehicle and power that’s used simultaneously for other purposes by the same customer – an emerging technology known as load disaggregation.

The study will help make it easier for customers to participate in incentive programs that encourage off-peak EV charging, including Con Edison’s SmartCharge New York program.

“Energy utilities and EV manufacturers are cooperating in ways and at scale never before seen, and the result will be EV ownership that is more convenient, more affordable and frankly more fun,” said Vicki Kuo, Con Edison’s senior vice-president for customer energy solutions. “This collaboration with GM could help open our SmartCharge New York program to a wider range of customer-owned EV charging stations, driving consumer choice and satisfaction in this rapidly developing market.”

The study is targeted to begin at Con Edison’s Learning Center in New York City in early 2023 before potentially moving into field testing with real customers.

As EVs become more popular,  SmartCharge New York will help reduce strain on the electric grid, lower the need for infrastructure upgrades, and bolster the use and value of renewable energy.

“As GM continues on its journey to an all-electric future, our collaboration with utilities such as Con Edison will play a pivotal role in accelerating new offerings and capabilities to market,” says Travis Hester, GM vice president of EV growth operations. “Together, we are excited to explore the benefits of providing greater energy management solutions for our customers.”

Managed charging programs reward customers for charging at times of lower electric demand and rely on the utility’s ability to determine how much energy is used to charge an EV versus other electrical appliances.

The study will also assess equipment including on-board vehicle telematics, smart electrical panels, and smart load-level controllers such as outlets and power strips. These technologies will be evaluated on the accuracy of their data, the speed and reliability of their communications with the utility, and their installed cost so they can also be considered in enabling customers to better manage their EV charging use.

New York’s rapidly growing fleet of EVs will be increasingly powered by renewable energy as the state continues to build out its solar and wind resources.

Approximately 8,500 vehicles are currently enrolled in Con Edison’s SmartCharge New York incentive program.

Con Edison plans to support the installation of 400,000 EV chargers by 2035, the year when New York intends to end the sale of new light-duty internal combustion engine vehicles, and 1 million chargers by 2050.

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