Grid seeks to recruit 500 electric car owners for 'SmartCharge RI'

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National Grid Rhode Island recently launched an electric vehicle (EV) pilot initiative to gain greater insight on EV charging patterns across the state.

“SmartCharge Rhode Island” is a two-year study to provide National Grid with more information to help prepare for the future adoption of electric vehicles. The program is being offered in partnership with FleetCarma, a division of Geotab Inc. and a connected car technology provider, specializing in plug-in electric vehicle applications.

National Grid is looking to recruit 500 EV owners in Rhode Island to participate in the program. EV owners who volunteer for the effort will receive exclusive access to advanced telematics technology. The FleetCarma C2, a device used to monitor vehicle, charging, and battery use is sent to each participant upon acceptance into the study. The FleetCarma SmartCharge Rewards portal provides an online gateway to advanced vehicle data and statistics, information that is typically reserved for large corporate fleets.

In addition to being able to track their usage, participants will also receive SmartCharge Rewards, which can be redeemed for cash deposits into a PayPal account. Participants are eligible to earn $50 for getting started and an additional $50 for every year after. Participants are encouraged to sign up by August 15 to maximize their reward earnings. An application to join the program can be submitted online.

As part of the program, anonymized data, such as where, when and for how long EVs charge, as well as battery “state-of-charge” will be assessed. National Grid will use this information to gain insights on how EVs impact its’ electric delivery system and how reward strategies could be used to encourage EV owners to charge their EVs at certain times of the day or year to reduce peaking electrical demand.

“Transforming the transportation sector is a key component to making sure we can meet the region’s clean energy goals,” said John Isberg, Vice President of Customer Solutions at National Grid. “As more and more Rhode Islanders recognize the benefits and importance EV’s play in the clean energy transition, we also need to ensure we are prepared for their increased adoption. This program will be a key tool in that planning and we hope current EV users will be excited to join our effort.”

Findings from the program will reveal important information which can be used to forecast and plan network demand with a high degree of accuracy. This is important to ensure that National Grid Rhode Island stays ahead of the needs of all customers in the state.

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