Centrica has invested in Israeli smart charging firm Driivz to position itself for increased take-up of electric vehicles and the revenue opportunities they present for energy companies.
The UK’s largest energy company will integrate the Driivz software platform to deliver smart charging, initially for businesses, via its Centrica Electric Vehicle Services unit.
For now, smart charging means paying less to charge vehicles at times of excess renewables generation or periods of low demand on local or national networks. In future, energy companies and car manufacturers believe it could develop into more sophisticated grid balancing applications, or vehicle-to-grid services.
National Grid last month suggested EV batteries could provide “useful levels of support” to the grid from around 2030, with around 8GW of usable EV battery storage providing vehicle-to-grid services by 2040.
Jonathan Tudor, director of technology and innovation strategy for Centrica Innovations, which along with Ombu Group led the £9m investment round, said EVs will “have a significant impact on how we manage the delicate balance of supply and demand to the grid”.
He said the investment enables Centrica to connect the dots between home, work and on the road car charging, “while also evaluating the role of EVs and potential vehicle-to-grid applications as part of the future energy landscape”.
Driivz’s cloud-based EV charging platform is currently used by around 200,000 drivers worldwide.