Optiwatt, a San Francisco-based tech firm, is working with energy companies across North America, and EV drivers could be eligible for a rebate. The goal of these partnerships is to better understand the impact EV charging has on the energy grid to prioritize upgrades and ensure stability. Active program rebates range from $25 – $84 depending on your area.
“It’s easy to assume that charging an EV is a simple process. But, just like in gas cars, there are a lot of driver behaviors that drastically change the electrical demand created,” said Optiwatt founder Casey Donahue. “We all know at least one person who waits until empty to gas up. That same kind of behavior in an EV can cause a demand spike that creates a challenge for energy companies.”
In states like Florida, EV adoption is skyrocketing. According to the US Department of Energy, Florida has the second highest EV registrations. And nation-wide, EV sales in Q4 set a record for volume and share (317,168 and 8.1%, respectively).
“It’s a big priority to prepare the grid to support these new cars. Having access to the right data can help prioritize upgrades and optimize spending,” added Donahue. “Shifting when and how EVs charge is the second part.”
EV drivers with compatible vehicles who connect their cars to the Optiwatt app are able to select their utility service and schedule their charging around the optimal rates for their area. As managed charging programs like these roll out, some energy companies are creating special “ultra low” rates to incentivize charging on certain schedules.
Once an EV is set up in Optiwatt, the app can inform you if a program is active in your area and you can register for the program in the app. Programs typically have an enrollment period of 6-12 months, after which participants either have to do very little and can periodically choose to take part in special charging exercises. Individual drivers can choose to skip a charging exercise if needed for their schedule.
Optiwatt also takes the security of users’ data and vehicles seriously. The app does not store any vehicle credentials, only an authorization token that is encrypted.