While electric vehicles are better for the environment than cars running on gas, the electricity used to charge them might not always come from renewable sources. Honda has launched a program enticing customers to reduce their carbon footprint even further by paying them money for participating. People tend to plug their vehicles in after they get home from work, but that's when demand on the grid is the highest. The automaker's SmartCharge beta program gets instant info from the grid through cloud-to-cloud communications, so it can notify people (via the HondaLink EV app) to start charging when electricity demand is low and when renewable energy availability is high.
Since not everyone will be able to plug their vehicles in at the best time possible, SmartCharge has the ability to take people's schedules into account. It will then compute for the most optimal time to charge for each individual based on the daily schedule they specify in the app, along with the amount of renewable energy generated and the amount of carbon dioxide emitted by power plants for the electricity grid.
The beta program will initially be available to select Fit EV customers in California, but the company will study its results with the intention of expanding its scope to cover more locations and more vehicles like the Honda Clarity. Customers given the opportunity to sign up for the beta will get their reward after completing five charging sessions specified by the app. Any additional reward will be based on how often they follow SmartCharge's recommendations within a two-month period.