Enel Acquires California-Based E-Mobility Solutions Firm eMotorWerks

The multinational utility firm Enel has just acquired the California-based e-mobility solutions firm eMotorWerks, best known for its popular product JuiceBox and the JuiceNet platform.

The acquisition was performed through Enel’s US-based subsidiary EnerNOC, with the intent being for Enel to begin using eMotorWerks’ JuiceNet platform functions in all of its electric vehicle charging stations around the world.

The JuiceNet platform, for those unfamiliar with it, is essentially a platform for the management of electric vehicle charging facilities and/or other distributed energy storage facilities, or whatever type. Using the platform it will be possible for Enel to easily remotely control and aggregate such facilities, and to use them for grid balancing purposes.

Typically, the JuiceNet platform is used to remotely schedule the “best” time to charge an electric vehicle, or a fleet of them. “Best” refers to: the time when grid electricity is cheapest; when “extra” energy is available (from a home solar PV system, for example); etc. Though, the platform can also be used to balance grid flows with storage facilities or vehicle-to-grid tech as well.

“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,” stated 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.”

As it stands, eMotorWerks has already deployed over 25,000 smart-grid-enabled plug-in electric vehicle charging stations. With Enel’s backing and support, this number now seems likely to surge rapidly over the coming years.

It’s probably also worth noting here that Enel Green Power North America currently operates over 3.3 gigawatts (GW) worth of renewable energy project generation capacity — the grid-balancing tech of eMotorWerks could perhaps prove useful in that regard.

Kyle Field of CleanTechnica adds, “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.”

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