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Should I join the Chevrolet-DTE charging time control program?

  • Yes

    Votes: 4 100.0%
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
TLDR: Electric utility is partnering with EV manufacturers to control the time that charging occurs. Should I join?

Background:
My daily commute is short (~12 miles roundtrip), but I have family that live ~135 miles and ~210 miles away. I had a 240V 14-50 outlet installed and purchased an Enel-X Juicebox 40 Level 2 networked EVSE, with a $500 rebate from my electric utility (DTE - Detroit Edison). One of the terms of the rebate stated, "Applicant commits to enroll in future demand response programs offered by DTE Electric, with an option to override the signal at a higher rate through an advanced notice if desired to do so." At the time, I interpreted that to mean DTE will work with the EVSE provider (Enel-X) to control charging through the networked EVSE.

Offer:
I received an email from Chevrolet, not DTE ([email protected]) offering:
"As a valued Chevrolet Bolt EV owner, you have the opportunity to participate in a new program through DTE. By participating, you will help ensure your Bolt EV is charged at optimal times for the power grid.

If you choose to join, you'll get a $50 gift card from DTE after enrollment. Stay enrolled and keep participating to get another $50 gift card from DTE at the end of the program.

It's simple – apply and provide your daily departure time and desired state of charge, then plug it in like you normally would. Chevrolet and DTE will handle the rest."

Attached is the PDF describing the program in more detail.

It sounds like my electric utility (DTE) is working with a couple of EV manufacturers - Chevrolet and Ford - to have them control charging time from the vehicle, rather than from a networked EVSE or installing a separate meter. I haven't heard of this approach before, but since I know I can initiate charging from the MyChevrolet app, it makes sense that Chevrolet has the ability to control charging on their end.

What do you think? Vote and add your comments below.
 

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The $50 gift cars is just a token appreciation. Most of the benefit is reaped by the utility by managing load during grid congestion thus delaying/eliminating grid upgrade - not much different than energy efficiency programs. Another benefit is that the utility will be able to integrate more renewables onto the grid!
 

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I enrolled in consumers energy smartcharge program for the 200 bucks and free telemetry. EVSE also offered but haven't done that yet.
I assume DTE wants you to charge between 11pm and 7 AM, same as consumers. At 7.8 kw should cover a bolt's needs.
I do essentially the same thing by off peak and departure time charging options.
 
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Generally speaking. But it really depends on the location. In residential locations with lots of rooftop solar, the preferred time for EV charging is actually more like 10am-2pm.
 

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Absolutely. My utility began a pilot FleetCarma SmartCharge program this year, I joined immediately for the $100 incentive. For now, it is a fact gathering thing, but in the future, they expect to use it for demand-response controls like DTE is suggesting for you.

EV Owners will absolutely stress the grid if we all charge during peak use periods. Utility costs will skyrocket, and the general public will blame us EV owners, rightly so.

I believe we should all be practicing at least off-peak scheduled charging, it is the responsible thing to do and really is no sacrifice for the most part. I even upgraded my EVSE to enable scheduled charging (my original Siemens EVSE did not respond well to scheduled charging). It helped that utility and IRS incentives plus the sale of my old EVSE resulted in money in my pocket for upgrading.

Demand-response is the next step, there will eventually be times, if not already, where demand spikes, even in off-peak periods will create imbalances requiring ramping up generation for short periods to rebalance voltages. That can be extremely costly to the utility companies.

Demand-response generally goes unnoticed, in the case of Air Conditioning in hot climates, they shutdown your AC for short enough periods you may not even notice. Given EV charging is typically completed in a fraction of the idle time overnight, slowing, or even stopping your charger remotely for short periods will also go unnoticed.

I say, take the money and run!
 

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Demand-response generally goes unnoticed, in the case of Air Conditioning in hot climates, they shutdown your AC for short enough periods you may not even notice. Given EV charging is typically completed in a fraction of the idle time overnight, slowing, or even stopping your charger remotely for short periods will also go unnoticed.
With a thermostat that the utility can control, they will actually cool your home down a few degrees before the event so your home can maintain comfort longer. :)
 
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I'd take the money and run. It's a win-win for you and the utility. It allows them to avoid building peaker plants for on-peak demand times, and they're sharing their savings with you.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Based on the overwhelming response of 3 votes in favor to 0 votes opposed (and the positive comments), I enrolled in the program. It takes you to a Chevrolet website at smartcharging.chevrolet.com, and asks you to login to your mychevrolet account or provide your VIN number. You have to have a cell phone number connected to your mychevrolet profile, so they can send you a text alert if there's a "charging event." On the enrollment website, you set your target charge level and departure time like you would on the Bolt's Energy screen interface. There's nothing about setting TOU rates / times.

If you want to override a "charging event" that will change your charge schedule, the instructions are to unplug and replug in your EVSE, or reply "No" to the text message notification.

I had already set departure time charging (which already falls into the off-peak hours of my TOU plan), so I don't think this will actually change anything for me most of the time. It mainly seems like a way for DTE to get Chevy to help owners set up departure time charging (which will usually be off-peak for most people), and also give DTE the option to notify Chevy to change the charging time during a peak load event. If I ever get a notification for such an event, I'll try to allow the change (if I don't need the range) and post here what happens.

Again, I think the most interesting part of this program is that DTE is working directly with EV manufacturers (instead of EVSE network providers) to use the charge controls on the vehicle. From both DTE and the EV owner's perspective, this approach might be simpler. DTE doesn't have to get owners to sign up on a DTE website and then build connections to different manufacturer systems, DTE can control charging from owners who have dumb / non-networked EVSEs, and owners don't have to learn a different charge scheduling scheme than what their EV manufacturer already provides.
 

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Based on the overwhelming response of 3 votes in favor to 0 votes opposed (and the positive comments), I enrolled in the program. It takes you to a Chevrolet website at smartcharging.chevrolet.com, and asks you to login to your mychevrolet account or provide your VIN number. You have to have a cell phone number connected to your mychevrolet profile, so they can send you a text alert if there's a "charging event." On the enrollment website, you set your target charge level and departure time like you would on the Bolt's Energy screen interface. There's nothing about setting TOU rates / times.

If you want to override a "charging event" that will change your charge schedule, the instructions are to unplug and replug in your EVSE, or reply "No" to the text message notification.

I had already set departure time charging (which already falls into the off-peak hours of my TOU plan), so I don't think this will actually change anything for me most of the time. It mainly seems like a way for DTE to get Chevy to help owners set up departure time charging (which will usually be off-peak for most people), and also give DTE the option to notify Chevy to change the charging time during a peak load event. If I ever get a notification for such an event, I'll try to allow the change (if I don't need the range) and post here what happens.

Again, I think the most interesting part of this program is that DTE is working directly with EV manufacturers (instead of EVSE network providers) to use the charge controls on the vehicle. From both DTE and the EV owner's perspective, this approach might be simpler. DTE doesn't have to get owners to sign up on a DTE website and then build connections to different manufacturer systems, DTE can control charging from owners who have dumb / non-networked EVSEs, and owners don't have to learn a different charge scheduling scheme than what their EV manufacturer already provides.
That is actually kind of brilliant. So the utility can notify OnStar when critical events happen, OnStar can regulate subscriber's charging activity remotely. Basically, demand-response becomes an OnStar implementation. I would assume OnStar is compensated for the utility's savings.

Thanks for sharing. I am working with a VP at my utility on several things, including their FleetCarma SmartCharge program in a member committee function. The concept DTE and OnStar are using sounds similar to what can be accomplished through FleetCarma, but it helps to know all the options. Since FleetCarma relies on ODB devices, this might actually be a cheaper, simpler solution for all.
 

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Absolutely. My utility began a pilot FleetCarma SmartCharge program this year, I joined immediately for the $100 incentive. For now, it is a fact gathering thing, but in the future, they expect to use it for demand-response controls like DTE is suggesting for you.

EV Owners will absolutely stress the grid if we all charge during peak use periods. Utility costs will skyrocket, and the general public will blame us EV owners, rightly so.

I believe we should all be practicing at least off-peak scheduled charging, it is the responsible thing to do and really is no sacrifice for the most part. I even upgraded my EVSE to enable scheduled charging (my original Siemens EVSE did not respond well to scheduled charging). It helped that utility and IRS incentives plus the sale of my old EVSE resulted in money in my pocket for upgrading.

Demand-response is the next step, there will eventually be times, if not already, where demand spikes, even in off-peak periods will create imbalances requiring ramping up generation for short periods to rebalance voltages. That can be extremely costly to the utility companies.

Demand-response generally goes unnoticed, in the case of Air Conditioning in hot climates, they shutdown your AC for short enough periods you may not even notice. Given EV charging is typically completed in a fraction of the idle time overnight, slowing, or even stopping your charger remotely for short periods will also go unnoticed.

I say, take the money and run!
Interesting , when I joined almost 2 years ago their incentive to join was a cool 200 bucks , 175 + 25 if you did something else I can’t remember, plus they monthly points earned. They are working with ConEd in NYC
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I just received my first text alert about a peak demand event:
"We will STOP charging your vehicle at 15:00 - 17:00. If you do not want to participate in today's charge event, reply 'No' to this message. Log-in to the https://smartcharging.chevrolet.com at any time to update your charge settings."

I'll still be at work at that time, and not plugged in, so it won't affect me. When 3:00 PM comes around, I'll go out to my car to see if any charge settings on the Infotainment display have been changed.
 

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I just received my first text alert about a peak demand event:
"We will STOP charging your vehicle at 15:00 - 17:00. If you do not want to participate in today's charge event, reply 'No' to this message. Log-in to the https://smartcharging.chevrolet.com at any time to update your charge settings."

I'll still be at work at that time, and not plugged in, so it won't affect me. When 3:00 PM comes around, I'll go out to my car to see if any charge settings on the Infotainment display have been changed.
This is great, I've always thought I would need to spend money for a smart EVSE, looks like not with this smarter implementation. Being able to limit charging at times of grid congestion (very high production and transmission cost) will save the utility a bundle and more receptive to EVs.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 · (Edited)
Update: I just went out to my car and turned on the Infotainment system (didn't turn on the car itself). There was an alert, "Charging interrupted or overridden". I also noticed that Departure Time and Utility Rate charging were both turned off. I updated my Home location just to make sure those settings weren't dependent on Home / Away.

I'll check the settings again after 5:00 PM and update here. I'll try to remember to update my Home location again, at home. ;)

Edit: corrected the alert text
 

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Wow, that looks like a bug in implementation... wiping out departure charging and utility rate... I guess this would necessitate getting a smart charger for the home. Boo!
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Wow, that looks like a bug in implementation... wiping out departure charging and utility rate... I guess this would necessitate getting a smart charger for the home. Boo!
It didn't necessarily wipe out the detailed settings - it just turned them off. I'll wait to see what happens after 5:00 PM, when the peak demand event ends.
 

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Update: I just went out to my car and turned on the Infotainment system (didn't turn on the car itself). There was an alert, "Charging interrupted or stopped" (or something like that). I also noticed that Departure Time and Utility Rate charging were both turned off. I updated my Home location just to make sure those settings weren't dependent on Home / Away.

I'll check the settings again after 5:00 PM and update here. I'll try to remember to update my Home location again, at home. ;)
Curious, is today an unusually warm day in your area? Are they expecting high AC demand?

I shared this program with a VP at my utility. They are currently using FleetCarma on a trial basis and were really interested in this OnStar\DTE program.

The key is, many EV makers have a telematic services like OnStar, and if others follow, and the API used on the utility side is standard, then they could implement programs without additional hardware like the FleetCarma ODB plug in.

So, I am keenly interested in your experiences, and will share those with my utility contact.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Curious, is today an unusually warm day in your area? Are they expecting high AC demand?

I shared this program with a VP at my utility. They are currently using FleetCarma on a trial basis and were really interested in this OnStar\DTE program.

The key is, many EV makers have a telematic services like OnStar, and if others follow, and the API used on the utility side is standard, then they could implement programs without additional hardware like the FleetCarma ODB plug in.

So, I am keenly interested in your experiences, and will share those with my utility contact.
It has been unusually hot and humid. Yesterday got up to 88 degrees, and today's high is 85. Normally, June highs would be 78.
 

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LOL, 88 and unusually hot are not always synonymous. I think 89 is about the highest I have seen at my home, but with dry climate and 50-60F nights, I have gone 25 years without AC.

I believe you are in the midwest, so 88 with humidity is clearly getting out of most folks comfort zone.

Folks in Phoenix probably start bundling up when it drops to 88 :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Update:

So when I got into my car at 5:11 PM, I saw the "Charging interrupted or overridden" alert again, and I noticed that the departure time and utility rate settings were still turned off. However, the detailed schedules were still there, so I just turned them back on.

Then I got home, reset my home location, and plugged into my Level 2 EVSE at 53% SOC.

A few minutes later, I received the following text:

"We will stop charging your vehicle at 01:35 - 07:30. According to your charging preferences, your vehicle should be charged to 80% by 07:30. If you do not want to participate in today's charge event, unplug your vehicle and then plug it again, or reply 'No' to this message. Log-in to the https://smartcharging.chevrolet.com at any time to update your charge settings."

At my SOC, it should take about 3 hrs to charge to 80%. Normally, with my departure time charge settings, it would start at about 4:30 AM. With my utility rate charging, it shouldn't start charging before 7 PM.

I just checked the car and the charger. It is not currently charging, and the departure and utility rate charge settings are both still turned on.

I'm not sure what the text message means. Will they start charging at 10:30 PM to stop by 1:35 AM? Will they start charging whenever necessary to stop charging within the 1:35-7:30 AM window? Did I mess things up by turning my departure time and utility rate settings back on?

I'll check the logs of my Juicebox EVSE tomorrow morning and report back what actually happened.
 
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