Imagine tapping into an electric vehicle to generate power in the event that your connection to the local utility is disrupted by a storm.
Now envision something that connects your battery-powered car with a roof-mounted solar energy system so you rely on the utility only when its rates are priced at the lowest possible price.
That is what Montreal-based Dcbel intends to deliver to 250 homes in the San Francisco Bay Area in the final three months of 2021. The company plans to roll out the system in upstate New York and Texas in the next 18 months.
“The artificial intelligence learns about our way of life inside our home,” said co-founder and CEO Marc Andre Forget. “The AI knows we have dinner at 5 p.m. and that the price of electricity at that hour is more expensive.”
So Dcbel’s r16 product can take energy stored in the EV and draw on it to save money during dinner time or other times when the utility’s power is priced at its peak.
“Over the next 20 years our relationship with energy will be redefined,” Forget said.
Vehicle-to-grid, or bidirectional charging, is giving electric vehicles the ability to take in and discharge electricity.
The r16 consists of a solar-power system on the roof and as well as the connection to an EV.
Right now, it only works with EVs that comply with the CHAdeMo protocols for vehicle-to-grid integration. CHAdeMo is an association formed by Tokyo Electric Power Co., Nissan, Mitsubishi and Fuji Heavy Industries, which owns Subaru.
After its creation, Toyota, Honda, Hitachi and Panasonic joined the association.
Today only the Nissan Leaf and Mitsubishi Outlander EV are compatible with r16, according to Forget, but other automakers are adding vehicle-to-grid capabilities to their electric vehicles, including the Kia EV6 and several Volkswagen EVs in development.
Earlier this year Dcbel raised $40 million from a group of investors, including Coatue Management, Real Ventures, WTI and Narrative Fund. Then in August, Silicon Valley Bank put in $7.5 million.
That money will fund a manufacturing plant in Quebec and other plants to be launched in 2022 in the U.S. and Europe.