Interview

Kaluza ‘Ask me Anything’ (AMA) is live - get your questions in quick!

Kaluza ‘Ask me Anything’ (AMA) is live - get your questions in quick!
Userlevel 7

2 weeks to ask your Kaluza questions to our experts…

 

I’m happy to announce our first ‘Ask me Anything’ (AMA) event, where we arrange for experts within and without OVO Group to answer your questions, posted here on our online community!

 

To mark the very first edition, we’ve lined up two experts who head up teams operating on Kaluza’s ‘Flex’ platform.

 

Introductions:

 

 

Fionn and his OVO Smart Home Team - 

 

Hi, I’m Fionn, the Electric Vehicles Product Manager for OVO. We are the voice of EV drivers within OVO, owning the EV Everywhere tariff as well as the Vehicle to Grid trial. We are also working on some really exciting new products, to be released soon. I’m looking forward to reading your questions and getting an insight into what your life with an EV is like.

 

In my spare time I love to cycle, read (latest recommendation “Shoe Dog”), play squash and travel. I’ve always been super interested in vehicle development and spent the first years of my career developing hybrids for Jaguar Land Rover. 

 

 

Josh and the Kaluza Flex platform -

 

Hi, I’m Josh, the Product Manager for the Customer Interfaces team in Flex, affectionately known as Vox Populi, the Voice of the People. We look after the design and development of the companion web apps for OVO’s Smart and ChargedEV’s Smart+ chargers. I’m excited to read your questions and find out about your experience using our service so far.

 

Outside of work my three young children keep me fairly busy and when I do find a bit of time for myself I enjoy cooking, cycling, tabletop roleplaying games and reading/watching anything sci-fi (just a bit of a geek!). During lockdown I built a smart charger for my MacBook using AppleScript and If This Then That (ifttt.com).

 

 

Ask me Anything rules:

 

 

  • Post your question below as a comment, and please make an effort to keep it specific but concise: we don’t want War and Peace... 

  • We’re not limiting the number of questions per user but please be considerate of others - we have limited time with our experts!  

  • You have until the 14th August to get your questions posted. After that, we’ll review your questions and answer as many as we can. 

  • We will then aim to get a new topic posted for each question being answered by the 1st September. Please be advised that we’re not promising to answer every question asked, but our experts will do their best to answer those that relate to their area, as long as it’s something they’re happy to exist online and open to the public. 

  • Make the most of this opportunity: specific support questions are best directed to our trained support teams. This is your chance to ask about higher level strategy, future plans and how we’re going about delivering Plan Zero.

 

 

So that’s it, what are you waiting for? Post your questions below before it’s too late!

 

 


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45 replies

Userlevel 2

How can I find out how much energy has been exported back to my house?

Ovo gives credits for exports back to the grid (which supposedly incorporate an extra to cover the difference) - but there is no breakdown - it’s all a bit of a black box.

 

Userlevel 3

I have recently started to set a schedule for my Leaf to be charged early morning as I noticed that without a scheduled time, you were not charging it until around midday. That seems mad - surely you can buy energy cheapest in the middle of the night - so why wouldn’t you charge up my Leaf at 3am?

Also I suspect that now I have set a scheduled early morning time, the in-out flow is a little higher so my reward payments might be a bit higher?

Cheers

Julian

Userlevel 2

I have recently started to set a schedule for my Leaf to be charged early morning as I noticed that without a scheduled time, you were not charging it until around midday. That seems mad - surely you can buy energy cheapest in the middle of the night - so why wouldn’t you charge up my Leaf at 3am?

Also I suspect that now I have set a scheduled early morning time, the in-out flow is a little higher so my reward payments might be a bit higher?

Cheers

Julian

 

I actually had the same thought. I had a 7am “charged” time from the “before times”, but I left it on even though we don’t need it in the mornings anymore because I had an intuition it would charge at uneconomical times, otherwise. Sounds like I was right. I might set it back to an even earlier time, too.

Userlevel 2

Talking of charged times, is it going to be possible to set more than one?

When we start doing the school run again, from September, we need it to be charged in the mornings _and_ afternoons. The way we have to get around this now is to put it on Boost when we get back in the morning and leaving it on Boost during the day so it’s definitely ready when we need it in the afternoon. That’s also leaving economy on the table.

Userlevel 4
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Great idea, I was wondering if we could get a notification, like an email if the system goes offline for any reason so we can manually restart it or even better restart it through the app?

Regards,

 

Andras

Userlevel 3
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Kaluza app has a massive variation between the energy imported and exported even when the EV is connected 24h to the charger.

If that’s the level of loss - I am seriously out of pocket. If the data is incorrect then it should be correct. No one is expected to check the SMETS if they have an app/portal.

Userlevel 3
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I’m interested after the VTG trial, will there be a product offered in line with a variable tariff?  So that I can buy energy cheap and sell back when the whole sale price is high? And will there be an api I can connect to? 

Userlevel 2

Kaluza app has a massive variation between the energy imported and exported even when the EV is connected 24h to the charger.

If that’s the level of loss - I am seriously out of pocket. If the data is incorrect then it should be correct. No one is expected to check the SMETS if they have an app/portal.

In terms of energy I’ve been finding a 10-15% difference, which I understand is in line with what’s expected due to the inefficiency of charging and recharging a battery. If you’re seeing substantially different to that you should probably get it looked into.

Userlevel 2

I’m interested after the VTG trial, will there be a product offered in line with a variable tariff?  So that I can buy energy cheap and sell back when the whole sale price is high? And will there be an api I can connect to? 

 

Ooh! An API would be awesome!

Userlevel 3

Kaluza app has a massive variation between the energy imported and exported even when the EV is connected 24h to the charger.

If that’s the level of loss - I am seriously out of pocket. If the data is incorrect then it should be correct. No one is expected to check the SMETS if they have an app/portal.

Yes the losses are quite large, but are in line with expectations. I do think Kaluza could be more transparent about this BEFORE people sign up to the trial - it would be easy to think that what goes in will come out (or at least with only a few percent variation).

Userlevel 7
Badge +2

Broaching another matter, can Fionn and Josh please provide some clarity as to what nouns you use for what?!

The company which OVO bought was called Vcharge. As I understand it, the main asset was the algorithm/expertise to manage distributed stored-energy resources.

Next, we learn that OVO has received investment from Mitsubishi, and that the “asset” has been located within a Division of OVO called Kaluza. So this is not the same as a separate company. Correct?

I’m then told that the software in question is to be henceforth referred to as the Kaluza Platform. Fair enough...

… until I read the headers for this discussion topic, when you refer to Flex.

Is that another new name for the core software?

Or is Flex a user-interface to the Kaluza Platform?

For how many months will your answer remain valid? :wink:

Userlevel 7
Badge +2

@TeaTimeSoon wrote:

I have recently started to set a schedule for my Leaf to be charged early morning as I noticed that without a scheduled time, you were not charging it until around midday. That seems mad - surely you can buy energy cheapest in the middle of the night - so why wouldn’t you charge up my Leaf at 3am?

Others may think differently.

There’s generally very little renewable energy available at 3am. So if customers want to be taking action to combat Climate Change, then they would be much more likely to require a mid-morning charge-cycle.

As I understand it, the main (only?) driver for the algorithm is the wholesale price of electricity, which changes by the minute.

What plans do Kaluza have to allow customers to set their own “balance” between price and energy-mix criteria?

Userlevel 3

@TeaTimeSoonwrote:

I have recently started to set a schedule for my Leaf to be charged early morning as I noticed that without a scheduled time, you were not charging it until around midday. That seems mad - surely you can buy energy cheapest in the middle of the night - so why wouldn’t you charge up my Leaf at 3am?

Others may think differently.

There’s generally very little renewable energy available at 3am. So if customers want to be taking action to combat Climate Change, then they would be much more likely to require a mid-morning charge-cycle.

As I understand it, the main (only?) driver for the algorithm is the wholesale price of electricity, which changes by the minute.

What plans do Kaluza have to allow customers to set their own “balance” between price and energy-mix criteria?

Wind energy is now the largest alternative energy source for the UK - please have a look at gridwatch.co.uk for a fantastic data presentation. So for example at 3am last night, wind was responsible for fulfilling 34.3% of the total UK electricity requirements (and even though I don’t have the wholesale energy costs to prove it, I would have thought the cost would have been pretty low just then). Wind does not stop at night, although it is of course intermittent in how much it contributes,

I would agree that the night before (the night of the 28th - morning of the 29th) wind was only around 7% at 3am, but my point remains, when the wind is blowing at 3am, why is Kaluza not getting such low cost energy that it makes sense to charge my car? This was not happening until I set a schedule for my car to be charged by 6.30am. 

Userlevel 7
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I’m not disagreeing @TeaTimeSoon but, looking at their job-specs, I don’t think Fionn and Josh are best positioned to discuss that. We’d need someone like Conor Maher-McWilliams.

As I understand it, Kaluza trades electricity solely on the National (GB) market. The Kaluza Platform doesn’t “see” electricity which never makes its way onto the National Grid. I’m in an area where we have abundant supplies of wind and solar energy which can’t be sent to the rest of GB due to capacity constraints.

I can see this because the running statistics for Energy-Mix are available down to the level of the Bulk Supply Point (33kV output). There are considerable differences between the amount of renewable energy I receive and what the National Statistics state is being supplied into my region.

I suspect that the excess wind-energy in my locality would cost more if it were routed onto the National Grid, but I don’t know how that pricing is calculated.

 

The main reason I broached the general subject of a choice between price and “green” energy mix is because Josh refers to “If This Then That”. A similar approach would be required if customers want more choice as to where their energy is sourced from.

Conversely, that risks making the user-interface too complex…. and that is within Josh’s job-spec!

Userlevel 3

Thanks @Transparent - makes sense and useful info.

I am looking forward to the day when storage systems of whatever flavour (battery, air, gravitational, hydrogen) develop to the degree that the temporary excesses can be managed and properly balance out the supply/demand on the grid rather than switching on more Ccgt or interconnects.

Userlevel 7

Hi everyone,

 

It’s day 1 of this AMA event, and so far we’ve had some great questions posted to our Kaluza product managers - thanks for your comments!

 

I’m liking the specific V2G feedback and questions, and especially the posts about time of use tariffs and about the Flex platform strategy more generally. It really is a fascinating platform. Just look at the new partnership announced with Eni gas e luce

 

I’m looking forward to seeing the answers provided (disclaimer: not all questions will be answered), and we’ll be making each Q&A into its own topic for future reference. So keep them coming in!

 

Do we have any smart charger members with some questions?

 

Any EV owners out there without a V2G or smart charger that wanted to check in on their options moving forwards... @ITGeek123

 

 

Userlevel 4

Can the team tell me when a CCS connector V2G charger is going to be available, so I can think about connecting my Hyundai Ioniq to the grid?

 

Tony

 

Userlevel 7
Badge +2

Good one @tony1tf :slight_smile:

And I’m hoping that Fionn will expand on the answer to tell us how much this depends on each manufacturer sharing with Kaluza the details of their EV’s particular charging regime and software.

In other words, just how generic is the V2G charger?

What support will be offered for using the charger for v2h after the trial? And how will OVO insentivise customers to offer their cars for V2G?

Can kalluza offer an open source solution for sending notifications when there is a problem with the unit or if the car is at home but not charging please?

Userlevel 3
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How much CO2 emissions have been prevented by the V2G trial?

Will OVO offer time of use tariffs similar to Octopus?

What is likely to be the future of the V2G chargers once the trial has ended and will there be the option to control them without the Kaluza platform? (Will we have direct control over them if we changed supplier for example)

Is it possible for Ovo to be more transparent (include KWh figures) with export payments? 

Is an API or local access via MQTT (or some other protocol) going to happen for V2G and smart charger?  (Also useful for errors and faults)

Is Kaluza planning an integrated energy system for domestic users (bringing solar, V2G / V2H, battery storage, heat pumps, heating etc together on one platform) with integration with existing hardware and tariffs that make financial sense for consumers to want?

Will there be an IOS / Android app for Kaluza? 

Will it be possible to have V2G and Smart charger (or multiple smart chargers) controlled from a single account?

How does Kaluza / OVO make profit from V2G and is this commercially viable once the trial has ended?

Is OVO working with DNO’s and Government to facilitate mass roll out of V2G in the future? (It seems currently there is a very mixed response from different DNO’s)


Thank you for trying to change the future for the better.

Paul

 

Userlevel 7
Badge +2

@ArundaleP wrote:

Is Kaluza planning an integrated energy system for domestic users (bringing solar, V2G / V2H, battery storage, heat pumps, heating etc together on one platform) with integration with existing hardware and tariffs that make financial sense for consumers to want?

Well that’s the big question, isn’t it?!

I can’t see any way that a household could have the Kaluza Platform / Flex controlling some energy devices, whilst others were operating with “smart regimes” from another supplier.

Imagine the difficulties if the Kaluza Platform issues a command for a V2G charger to supply the Grid and a minute later your Tesla Powerwall starts charging its batteries because your PV Panels are generating. Aagh!

Either the Kaluza Platform is ubiquitous across the UK, or the strategy fails.

So to succeed, the No.1 priority for Kaluza must be to license the platform to all-comers.

This is a re-run of the classic battle between VHS and Beta-max. There was no point in proving that Beta-Max was technically superior (which it was), when Sony had effectively got all the equipment manufacturers to adopt VHS decoding by default.

Would Josh like to comment further?

 

Userlevel 3
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@ArundalePwrote:

Is Kaluza planning an integrated energy system for domestic users (bringing solar, V2G / V2H, battery storage, heat pumps, heating etc together on one platform) with integration with existing hardware and tariffs that make financial sense for consumers to want?

Well that’s the big question, isn’t it?!

I can’t see any way that a household could have the Kaluza Platform / Flex controlling some energy devices, whilst others were operating with “smart regimes” from another supplier.

Imagine the difficulties if the Kaluza Platform issues a command for a V2G charger to supply the Grid and a minute later your Tesla Powerwall starts charging its batteries because your PV Panels are generating. Aagh!

Either the Kaluza Platform is ubiquitous across the UK, or the strategy fails.

So to succeed, the No.1 priority for Kaluza must be to license the platform to all-comers.

This is a re-run of the classic battle between VHS and Beta-max. There was no point in proving that Beta-Max was technically superior (which it was), when Sony had effectively got all the equipment manufacturers to adopt VHS decoding by default.

Would Josh like to comment further?

 

But if I had access to the V2G or Smart charger, A Tesla Powerwall and a SolarEdge (or most sunspec) solar systems I could if you would allow me local access.  For example Powerwall, LG Chem batteries and SolarEdge communicate using an open protocol via RS485 so in theory software can be written to integrate them with your platform but will need some form of hub to communicate.

 

This to me seems to be the limitation of several different standards and not allowing access to monitor and control chargers, solar batteries etc. An industry standard needs to be established or a platform that every hardware provider feels they need to be part of. 
 

Give me access to your hardware and I will integrate it into my system. Everything is possible 😁

Userlevel 3
Badge

Kaluza app has a massive variation between the energy imported and exported even when the EV is connected 24h to the charger.

If that’s the level of loss - I am seriously out of pocket. If the data is incorrect then it should be correct. No one is expected to check the SMETS if they have an app/portal.

In terms of energy I’ve been finding a 10-15% difference, which I understand is in line with what’s expected due to the inefficiency of charging and recharging a battery. If you’re seeing substantially different to that you should probably get it looked into.

so here’s an example from the last few days (unable to take a download, error on Kaluza app, anyway). All 24 hours the EV has been connected to the V2G charger.

Day      i/p       e/p (kWh)

Thurs:  11.4     8.6

Wed:  11.7      8.6

Sat:     11.1       8.1

Tues   12.3    8.0

and the list goes on, it is an almost consistent trend everyday same trend for 24 hours cycle.

Statistically, I am having a 28% loss on a regular basis?? That’s just rather high to be considered efficient and smart charging model.

Userlevel 7
Badge +2

That sounds a great solution @ArundaleP. And what about the other 67million of us? :wink:

It is vital that we cease viewing GB energy supplies from an individual stand-point. Equally, the energy planners and HMG need to stop basing their strategies on the major power stations.

Let’s just take a glimpse of what happens when we fail to see the wider picture:

20 years ago, the Government incentivised householders to install Solar Panels by using financial bonuses. The wealthiest people quickly did so and are still reaping 50p / kWh which is derived from a levy on the poorer households, often living in rented accommodation with no stakehold in anything renewable.

The consequences on the distribution grid have also been disasterous. Because those PV Panels are on single-phase properties, they cause imbalances in local 11kV substations. That has increased system losses from 5% to 10%.

Now the EV market is growing (with more Government subsidies), and principally amongst the same ABC1 section of the population. After all, they have garages or park on the drive, whereas poorer households use the road or a designated “parking bay” several meters away.

Those with EVs use their chargers overnight without any thought to the temperature rises in the 230/440v underground cables feeding their houses. Instead of the overnight cooling-off period which they used to enjoy, the cables remain hot until breakfast time the following morning.

 

So what are the solutions?

Well I’d hope that the Kaluza Platform is the tool which could help resolve this.

Firstly, instead of allowing such losses from phase-imbalances, why not route the local PV generation to houses (on the same phase) which have storage capacity?

I don’t just mean people who splash out on a Powerwall to make a personal profit. There must be an element of social responsibility here. I’d suggest that excess generation be fed first to those elderly people whose houses still have storage radiators and an immersion heater in a hot water cylinder.

Secondly, I’d like to see Kaluza migrate away from using National Grid data, and instead pick up the demand-loading and energy-mix data from the Bulk Supply Points.

That means we can use the excess-generation from regional renewable sources which can’t be taken onto the National Grid due to capacity constraints.

Now this is acres away from allowing each customer to merely assign their own timings for charging an EV. It requires the customers’ preferences to be just one of a hundred inputs to the Kaluza Platform which will eventually decide what power to allow into your house and how much you will export.

But if we’re going to make the GB energy-supply model operate in such a way as to start reversing Climate Change, then this is the bold, wide vision we need to have.

So who wants to pick this up?

Fionn or Josh? :thinking: