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Smart charging may be key to saving power grid in world of EVs

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As electric vehicle (EV) sales rise, the big question for power grid operators, charging companies and governments is how to run tens of millions of vehicles without crashing local networks or spending billions on grid upgrades.

The answer: smart charging.

Simply put, smart charging software allows EV owners to plug in during expensive peak hours, without the vehicle drawing power until cheap off-peak hours. This eases strain on the electric grid, makes better use of renewable energy and saves drivers money.

Without it, millions of EV owners plugging in after work – auditing firm EY estimates Europe will have 65 million EVs by 2030 and 130 million by 2035 – could overload local grids, causing blackouts.

“The shift to electric will be nigh on impossible without smart charging,” Chris Pateman-Jones, CEO of British EV charger company Connected Kerb, told Reuters while demonstrating a pilot project on public chargers in Hackney, a London borough.

Using Connected Kerb’s smartphone app you can set your charging speed, charge time and exact price down to a low, slow “Eco” rate of 19 pence (26 U.S. cents) per kilowatt.

“It’s so much cheaper and simpler,” said Ged O’Sullivan, a 65-year-old pub owner who cut his plug-in hybrid’s charging bill by 30% with Connected Kerb.

Smart charging for public chargers is a significant challenge because so few are available for people who cannot charge at home because they park on the street.

According to a report from EY and Eurelectric, Europe alone will need 9 million public chargers by 2035, up from 374,000 today.

The near future should also bring “bidirectional” or “vehicle-to-grid” charging, where millions of EV owners could sell their EV batteries’ juice back to grid operators during peak hours.

Even in Britain where smart charging at home is widely available, many EV owners are unaware it exists, according to Britain’s energy regulator, Ofgem. In the United States, only a tiny fraction of utilities offer it, according to utilities group the Smart Electric Power Alliance.

And few cars today beside Renault and Hyundai’s upcoming Ioniq model are capable of bidirectional charging – though more are coming.

“Most cars, at this point, do not support this bidirectional charging yet,” said Robin Berg, CEO of We Drive Solar, which has supplied hundreds of bidirectional chargers for a pilot project in the central Dutch city of Utrecht and worked with Renault SA and Hyundai Motor Co on their vehicles. “Other carmakers will follow.”

Nearly 20% of new cars sold in the Netherlands and almost 12% in Britain in 2021 were fully electric.

State support has put Norway at the forefront of electrification, where EVs made up almost three-quarters of sales in the capital Oslo. Some local substations were built in the 1950s and without smart charging Oslo would need massive, costly grid upgrades.

“To handle this we need smart charging solutions because we don’t want to over-invest in the grid,” said Sture Portvik, who heads Oslo’s charging infrastructure efforts.

‘AWARENESS IS LOW’

Connected Kerb aims to have 190,000 UK on-street chargers by 2030, enabling it to predict consumer charging patterns for grid operators and offer lower rates when the available renewable energy is abundant, said Pateman-Jones.

“Today when there’s too much wind on the grid, wind farms are told to turn the wind turbines off,” he said. “With smart charging we can pull more of that power.”

Some UK energy providers already offer low off-peak rates for home smart charging, but few EV owners use them.

“The perception is smart charging at home is a done deal,” said Charlie Cook, CEO of Rightcharge, a UK firm that helps EV owners find low tariffs. “But the reality is awareness of these tariffs is surprisingly low.”

Rightcharge estimates smart charging could save UK drivers 10 billion pounds ($13.5 billion) by 2030.

British car dealer network Lookers guides EV buyers to Rightcharge’s website to check their options.

Lookers’ business development director, Andrew Hall, said “early adopter” EV buyers are “pretty savvy about smart charging.”

“But that is changing as EV sales rise,” he added.

Utilities group the Smart Electric Power Alliance estimates only 50 out of 3,000 U.S. utilities offer smart charging.

EV charging company ChargePoint’s U.S. chargers can all smart-charge, but it wants more utilities to offer it.

“We see a lot of positive response from customers when their utility is offering those rates,” said Anthony Harrison, ChargePoint’s North American head of utility partnerships.

Charging provider Blink Charging Co has one set rate until smart charging is widely available.

“We decided to keep it simple for our customers,” said Blink CEO Michael Farkas.

‘HORRENDOUSLY EXPENSIVE’

Bidirectional charging may be crucial.

“The whole idea behind bidirectional charging is to balance the grid,” said We Drive Solar’s Berg, who estimates a fully charged EV can power the average home in the Netherlands for a week.

Serge Colle, EY’s global energy resources leader, said smart and bidirectional charging are better than “horrendously expensive” power grid upgrades.

“We can’t possibly open up streets quickly enough to add more copper and do the necessary reinforcement,” Colle said.

Regulator Ofgem estimates that peak power reductions from smart and bidirectional charging by 2050 could match “10 Hinkley Point C Nuclear Plants” – a two-reactor plant under construction in England.

The U.S. market has more than 10 vehicle-to-grid pilot projects using school buses under way.

California-based vehicle-to-grid company Nuvve Holding Corp has formed Levo, a joint venture with private equity firm Stonepeak – which chipped in $750 million – to enable EV fleet owners to sell power to utilities.

“Because our customers are able to generate revenue we’re able to reduce the total cost of ownership for those vehicles, at times completely cost-neutral,” said Nuvve CEO Gregory Poilasne.

Charger makers like Brisbane, Australia-based Tritium Dcfc Ltd are also developing bidirectional chargers.

CEO Jane Hunter said Tritium will launch a bidirectional, fast-charging wall unit in 2023 for fleets and homeowners.

More automakers are embracing bidirectional charging. Ford Motor Co has partnered with solar power company Sunrun Inc to use its F-150 Lightning pickup truck to power homes.

But Oslo has invested extra money in pilot projects for bidirectional chargers because it believes in the concept. So far, however, it has been disappointed that more carmakers have not yet introduced vehicles that can feed power back into the grid.

“The limitations for bidirectional charging has been the car producers,” infrastructure chief Portvik said. “The big carmakers have to step up.”

($1 = 0.7387 pound)

 

(Reporting by Nick Carey in London, Anthony Deutsch in Utrecht, Netherlands, and Tina Bellon in Austin, Texas; Editing by Matthew Lewis)

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iQoo 10 series launch date, specs leaked online: What to expect – Times of India

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iQoo is set to expand its smartphone lineup in the country with the iQoo Neo 6 smartphone that will be unleashed on May 31, 2022. The iQoo Neo 6 is expected to feature Snapdragon 870 5G chipset and 80W FlashCharge support. According to a report by GizmoChina, Vivo’s sub-brand is now working on its next flagship series — the iQoo 10 series. The report claims that some preliminary details about the iQoo 10 lineup have been leaked online. iQoo’s parent company Vivo is also working on a new camera flagship suggests the report. The report also mentions that the iQoo 10 series will include two models — the iQOO 10 (model number V2217A) and the iQOO 10 Pro (model number V2218A). Both smartphones are tipped to feature the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1+ chipset and are rumoured to be unveiled in Q3 2022 (between July and September). No more information is available regarding both the handsets.
Vivo working on a ‘mysterious’ camera flagship
The report also suggests that Vivo is working on a ‘mysterious’ camera-focused flagship phone device. This upcoming camera-focused flagship smartphone from the Chinese smartphone maker is expected to feature a primary camera that will be more powerful than the Vivo X80 Pro’s Samsung GNV camera. However, the company is yet to decide on the processor on which the smartphone will run. The upcoming camera-focused flagship may come powered by either the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1+ chipset or the upcoming Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 mobile processor. Vivo has still not decided on the final name of the device that will be used to market the phone. The handset might either come as a part of the X80 series or can be released with the X90 lineup, the report suggests.
Vivo to launch the Vivo T2 series soon in China
Vivo is set to introduce the Vivo T2 series in China on June 6. Rumours suggest that the Vivo T2 is expected to be powered by the Snapdragon 870 chipset and the company is also likely to introduce the Vivo T2x at the same event. The Vivo T2x might feature a 6.58-inch LCD FHD+ screen, Dimensity 1300 chipset, a 50MP dual rear camera setup, a 16MP selfie camera and a 6,000mAh battery with 44W fast charging support.
In other news, Realme has launched a Naruto Limited Edition of the Realme GT Neo 3 in China. Click here for more details.

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GSAs help create safe, welcoming environments – Windsor-Essex Catholic District School Board

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Pride Month may kick off on June 1, but Catholic schools in Windsor-Essex work towards making students from the LGBTIQ+ community feel welcome and safe throughout the entire year, according to Rosemary LoFaso.


“It’s not about celebrating one day or one month out of the year,” said the Superintendent of Education whose portfolios include equity and diversity, and safe schools. “What we try to do throughout the year is incorporate programming, initiatives, events and opportunities for students to really feel like they belong in the community, and that’s a day-to-day thing.”


An essential part of that comes in providing support to school GSAs, which may stand for Gay-Straight Alliance or Gender Sexuality Alliance.


“It’s really a chance for us to feel that we can just be ourselves without judgement,” Angelina Boschin, a student at Holy Names Catholic High School, said of the GSA at her school. “It’s a way to remind ourselves that we’re not alone and also that we can work together to hopefully make a better tomorrow for anyone who does feel alone.”


Having a GSA in a school goes a long way to make it a more accepting place, according to Danielle Desjardins-Koloff.


 “The presence alone of a club is a source of support to students and it’s not always students who identify as LGBTIQ+,” said the Principal at St. Joseph’s Catholic High School. “So the presence of the club itself definitely makes a statement about how we feel about taking care of our students, and upholding the dignity of every student.”


“I think the message really is that June might be Pride Month, but I think we’re proud all year long of all our students, and they’re accepted and they’re loved and they’re supported,” said LoFaso.


Check out this great video we produced about GSAs in our schools:

[embedded content]

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PS4 Sold 6 Units A Minute, PS5 Is Selling Nearly 1,000 – Forbes

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Just how insane is PlayStation 5 demand? Sony came up with a striking comparison in a recent presentation about the future of the brand, and the current situation of console sales.

We all know that PS5s are selling out instantly whenever they appear…anywhere, but Sony explains just how fast the system is selling compared to its predecessor:

  • In the US, at this stage of the console’s lifecycle, the PS4 sold 80,000 units in nine days.
  • The PS5 has been selling 80,000 units in 82 minutes, on average.
  • That’s 6 sales a minute for PS4, nearly 1,000 sales a minute for PS5.

They also have a graph about “purchase interest” in the console one year after launch where the PS4 has 28% interest and the PS5 has 55% interest. Again, all of these stem from the fact that so many of the people who want the PS5 just have been physically unable to get one, and this is the only reason that the PS4 is outselling the PS5 at this point in both lifecycles.

The “sales per minute” concept does not translate to something like PS5 sales would be 10,000% more than PS4 if they could only produce enough units, but it’s still pretty fascinating all the same. The slide is titled “unprecedented demand,” which certainly does not seem like an exaggeration, and it’s easy to imagine that PS5 probably would have broken all console sales speed records if Sony was able to produce more units. Instead, they are promising shortages that will continue into 2023 due to the ongoing supply chain/component issues. Things may not normalize until 2024, the company says.

The PS5 shortages seem to go hand in hand with another development, that Sony has started to realize they are shooting themselves in the foot by limiting their game sales to the PlayStation and PlayStation only, especially now in an era where they cannot make enough of the boxes. This seems in part behind their push to get more games to PC, and they’ve reported a huge surge in PC sales due to recent ports like God of War, and it seems like other exclusives such as Returnal are about to make their way to PC in a much faster fashion than past games.

Microsoft has been doing cross-PC sales with the Xbox for a while now, and this is different than Sony which is doing later ports, sold separately, but they can get away with that due to high demand for their exclusives outside of the PlayStation ecosystem. Expect PC to become an increasingly important part of their business as they expand this concept, as Sony says they want half their game sales to be PC and mobile by 2025.

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Pick up my sci-fi novels the Herokiller series and The Earthborn Trilogy.

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