Enel has acquired eMotorWerks, an intelligent EV charging station (EVSE) manufacturer and operator of the JuiceNet EV charging network.
The move speaks to the coming of age of electric vehicles and the infrastructure required to support them as major market players across various segments shape up efforts to move into the space in a big way. eMotorWerks has one of the leading intelligent EVSEs on the market, which allows customers to bill for charging. It also has the powerful JuiceNet platform, which ties the EVSEs to the eMotorWerks cloud and allows for some truly mind-bending capabilities.
Formally, the acquisition of eMotorWerks was executed under Enel’s US-based subsidiary EnerNOC, which was only recently acquired by Enel itself, in August 2017. EnerNOC is an energy software company that, similar to the eMotorWerks functionality through JuiceNet, consolidates distributed grid demand resources and offers dynamic demand response capability to utilities.
At the beginning of the year, Enel also acquired Demand Energy Networks, which builds intelligent energy management software that “enables real-time optimisation of energy management, with the potential to revolutionise the way electricity is generated, stored and consumed.” These moves make it clear that Enel sees renewables mandating grid-level flexibility so that operators can easily balance intermittent solar, wind, and hydro with utility-scale storage and distributed storage. Demand response has the potential to play a key role in the mix and Enel wants to own the space.
As we shared last year, eMotorWerks’ JuiceNet pulls together the distributed loads that thousands of EVs utilizing its chargers represent, which can then be dynamically throttled to balance the grid. That functionality was validated last month with the announcement that eMotorWerks is partnering with utility EDF to tie JuiceNet into EDF’s grid management network.
Enel clearly sees that the future of transportation is electric and the future of grids is dynamic. As such, it is moving aggressively to build the infrastructure required to make that vision a reality.
“Electric vehicles have the potential to be one of the most disruptive technologies the modern electricity grid has faced in the last one hundred years,” said Francesco Venturini, Head of Enel’s Global e-Solutions division. “The electric mobility revolution is leading utilities, grid operators, and consumers to rethink traditional business models, invest in new infrastructure, and roll out new solutions to provide flexibility and resiliency to the grid. Our mission is to be on the cutting edge of this paradigm shift, where consumers can play a more active role in energy generation and use. This acquisition enriches our e-mobility offering and integrates a highly sophisticated smart EV charging solution within our portfolio of grid flexibility services, which includes the world’s largest demand response network, distributed energy management systems and battery storage solutions.”
The Enel announcement shared that JuiceNet also has the ability to aggregate distributed storage facilities “including but not limited to electric vehicle batteries” to balance the grid, meaning they are exploring vehicle-to-grid functionality as well as non-EV storage units.
This is an exciting move in the world of EVSEs and shows both the visionary work done by the team at eMotorWerks to build functionality to use EVs to balance the grid and the potential for innovation to solve the challenges faced by utilities in light of the influx of renewables.