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Honda Smart Home Integrates EV Into House

Adding eMobility To Zero Carbon Living

Honda has a view of the future that might include not only plugging your electric car into your house, but supplying power to the grid from the car and house when needed. In Honda’s view, that makes it a Honda Smart Home US, since it’s located in Davis, California.

In a nutshell, this high-efficiency home produces more power than it uses, including enough to power a Honda Fit EV for a daily commute. The prototype version of this home showcases a potential Honda move beyond the automobile into energy management systems. While some companies talk about emobility as their new venture, Honda is taking it a step further by integrating the emobility with zero carbon living.

Honda worked with the University of California, Davis, and local utility PG&E to design a home that showcases the potential of living not off-the-grid, but integrated to the grid in a positive way. The home, which will become the residence of a member of the UC Davis community, is envisioned as a living laboratory for Honda, PG&E and UC Davis to test and evaluate new technologies and business opportunities at what they describe as the intersection of housing, transportation, energy and the environment.

Fit EV Integrated

The home, which will come with a Honda Fit EV, is located in UC Davis’ West Village, a community designed as the country’s largest planned zero net energy housing development. While Honda senior project engineer Michael Koenig described it as an “R&D experiment,” the Honda Smart Home looks like it will provide a road map for the potential of building homes that change not only Honda’s business model, but PG&E’s as well. With the house and car providing as well as using energy, but needing the grid support only in exceptional situations, the utility’s role becomes one of energy management as opposed to supply. Koenig added that one of the key elements to pushing this kind of integrated technology forward is a “distributed renewable (solar) energy system supplying energy to homes and EVs.”

The Honda Smart Home has a variety of features that, when integrated, lead to the exceptional house on display:

  • Honda’s proprietary home energy management system (HEMS), which is a combined hardware and software system, is at the core of the home. It monitors, controls and optimizes electrical generation and consumption throughout the home’s microgrid. It manages a Honda-supplied 10 kWh lithium-ion storage battery on site, which is augmented by the Fit’s 20 KWh battery.
  • The Smart Home has a 9.5 kW solar photovoltaic system on its roof, which by itself will generate more energy than the home and Fit EV consumer annually.
  • To enhance the Fit EV’s charging, the car was modified to accept DC direct charging, enabling a full recharge in about two hours.
  • The home also features geothermal radiant heating and cooling, utilizing a system that employs eight 20-foot deep boreholes in the backyard.
  • The Smart Home used pozzolan-inflused concrete to decrease use of greenhouse-gas intensive concrete.
  • Advanced LED lighting is used throughout the house; it mimics natural light shifts and could potentially have a positive impact on the home’s residents’ health as well as saving energy.
  • The house’s orientation incorporates “passive design,” which takes into account local weather conditions, sun direction and home’s outer shell to optimize heating and cooling.
  • During construction, local and sustainable materials were used, helping the entire project meeting the U.S.’s goal of a net zero energy home, which was set for 2020.

Of course, a key feature of this modern home is its “brains.” Energy data generated by sensors throughout the house will be shared with PG&E and UC Davis. The home has quite a few smarts and hopes to teach others how make homes smarter and more ready to move to an electrified mobility system.

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About Author: Michael Coates

is editor and publisher at Clean Fleet Report and an internationally recognized expert in the field of automotive environmental issues. He has been an automotive editor and writer for more than three decades. His media experience includes Petersen Publishing (now part of The Enthusiast Network), Green Car Journal, trade magazines, newspaper and television news reporting. He currently serves on the Board of the Western Automotive Journalists.

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