A Toronto-based initiative by SWTCH and Opus One to reduce the cost of electric vehicle (EV) charging and enhance grid efficiency by focusing on multi-tenant building and bi-directional charging has received a $1 million investment from National Resources Canada, according to an Electric Autonomy report on Nov 11.

The SWTCH and Opus One Initiative

SWTCH, the maker of the charging platform, and Opus One—an intelligent energy software developer will test their solution at the PwC and the IBI towers in downtown Toronto. Data collected in the next two years will highlight the benefits of blockchain-based smart-charging technologies.

A “transactive energy networks” will be installed to facilitate bi-directional charging between EV-vehicles charged overnight using the buildings’ cheap electricity and supply of power during peak hours of the day. 

The pilot program that runs through to 2023 integrates several energy management systems and a vehicle-to-building (V2B) to tap the potential “in the parking lots.” 

The trial leverages the transparency and the immutability of the blockchain to verify and keep track of transactions since transactions inside the building aren’t monitored by any utility

Carter Li, the CEO and Founder of SWTCH explained how the blockchain is integral:

 “If there is no third-party source like the utilities to verify, it’s hard for customers to know if that [charge or credit] is true or not. That’s where blockchain comes in. It’s like an automated ledger system that keeps track of all transactions. There is no way to fudge those numbers.”

electric vehicle

How it Works

When charging, the car owner will be debited through the SWTCH App for drawing power from the buildings’ facilities just like they would on any charging point. 

Conversely, during peak time—when power rates are high, and when the vehicle isn’t being driven, it can supply electricity to the building. In this instance, the owner’s account will be credited based on the prevailing and competitive rate of electricity. 

However, it is not compulsory for vehicles charging from the building to supply energy during peak hours. They can, at their volition, opt-in and negotiate their energy rates billed by the hour.

The pilot demonstrates the wide range of possibilities that come with widespread electrification of transportation. In this arrangement, when these vehicles aren’t being driven, they can supply 

power and help stabilize the grid helping in efficiency and reduction of greenhouse gases. 

In April, Sustainable Technologies Evaluation Program (STEP) and Insolar—a blockchain technology company, joined hands in an initiative to implement distributed energy resources (DERs) in Canada.

Ledger Nano X - The secure hardware wallet