March 19, 2024

Building smart grids with Uplight’s AI-driven DERMS solution and Smartcar

Erica Bickel

Content Marketing Manager

Predictive analytics, AI-powered modeling, personalized customer engagement, and powerful flexibility management – these are the founding principles of Uplight, which enables utilities’ transition to the modern smart grid. 

At a glance

🚧 Problem: In order to keep up with the needs of its customers, Uplight wanted an API platform that could deliver comprehensive coverage across the EV charging landscape.

💡 Solution: Smartcar’s API solution expanded EV telematics access, allowing for better personalization of Uplight’s product offerings.

📈 Results: Uplight can now reach EV drivers outside of its direct EVSE manufacturer partners, including Tesla vehicle owners.

With a dedicated mission to accelerate the sustainable energy revolution, Uplight brings together cleantech solutions across organizations — including AutoGrid, which was acquired in February 2024. The company’s standout product, AutoGrid Flex™, is an AI-driven distributed energy resource management system (DERMS) that makes it possible to harness, orchestrate, and optimize energy assets across all classes, device types, and use cases.

As one of the first large-scale DERMS solutions to use artificial intelligence, AutoGrid Flex™ utilizes its proprietary algorithm to assess available energy flexibility at the site level and scale operations for efficient distributed energy resource (DER) management and grid optimization. 

By balancing supply and demand with predictive load control, Uplight can monitor, run, and maximize DERs in real time. 

But to broaden brand coverage for utility customers, Uplight needed an API solution like Smartcar to help strengthen its solution with powerful EV integrations and developer features.

Uplight’s end-to-end flexibility management and prosumer engagement platform requires connectivity with a broad network of original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and technology partners. Smartcar fits into our solution ecosystem seamlessly and enables deployment models that help us unlock EV flexibility at an unprecedented scale.

— Olaf Lohr, Business Development Manager at Uplight

An API-powered solution that scales in a growing DERMS market

In 2013, AutoGrid (now Uplight) became the first company to control a smart EV charger in a utility project, successfully completing simulated demand response events using a demand response optimization and management system (DROMs) for Austin Energy. 

Since then, the organization has partnered with over 20 electric vehicle supply equipment (EVSE) manufacturers, utilizing them in a growing number of utility programs. Uplight’s expanded capabilities today provide a platform for energy providers globally to integrate, orchestrate, and monetize distributed energy resources (DERs) at scale.

Through this experience, Uplight discovered an emerging need to reach EV drivers outside of partner EVSE manufacturers – including those using legacy chargers and drivers with L1 and L2 EVSE equipment using 120V or 240V outlets. Most notably, this comprised all Tesla models, which make up over 50% of the EV market. A best-in-class EV telematics solution unlocked new opportunities and additional program impact for Uplights DERMS customers.

“We saw the need for EV and EVSE telematics coming over a decade ago, but utility requests, new projects in the pipeline, and joint offerings with Schneider Electric prompted us to explore partner solutions to augment our direct EVSE OEM connections and reach an even wider base of customers,” said Olaf Lohr, Business Development Manager at Uplight.

Ultimately, they chose Smartcar because of our ability to securely connect to a broad range of EVs, detailed API documentation, and extensive experience working with utility partners and programs. 

How Uplight evaluated Smartcar as their EV API platform

🔋 EV brand coverage

Smartcar is compatible with over 200 different EV models across 34 brands in North America and Europe, making it simple to scale and grow Uplight’s tailored solutions.

🧰 Comprehensive API platform

Smartcar provides a clear and detailed set of developer resources, including easy-to-use APIs, SDKs, and a powerful self-service dashboard.

✅ Reliability of the platform

Smartcar’s wide collection of standardized EV endpoints allows Uplight to easily retrieve vehicle data at regular intervals.

How utilities use AutoGrid Flex™ & Smartcar

Today, Uplight offers superior energy flexibility for millions of DERs spanning multiple use cases. Enabled by Smartcar, the Uplight platform provides EV and EVSE telematics to power  efficient managed charging for utility clients. 

These use cases include:

🔌 Virtual power plants: for aggregation of energy assets into dispatchable flexibility.

📈 Demand response: for optimizing energy usage during peak demand.

☀ Microgrid management: for managing and optimizing onsite commercial and industrial energy assets.

🚗 EV & EVSE grid services: for increasing grid resilience via flexible charging.

The clean energy revolution

By providing a single platform to integrate, orchestrate, and monetize a wide range of DERs, Uplight is making the vision of a decentralized, decarbonized, and democratized new energy world a reality. And using the Smartcar API, Uplight can now proactively anticipate and mitigate grid instability or congestion issues, optimizing charging for utility clients and EV owners alike.

As a trusted EV API partner of Uplight, we’re proud to represent a fresh step forward in the clean energy movement.

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