A look at solar power, machine learning, how the company developed its r16 charger, and more
By now, you almost certainly know that electricity powers the future. While there are sure to be some roadblocks along the way, the shift is here and some companies are already adjusting. One such company is Volvo, which plans to stop selling gas hogs by 2030.
Volvo isn’t the only example, either, and as companies like Tesla pave the way for electric vehicles, there will be more of them on the road over the years. This means a greater need for electrical chargers, and therefore an overall increase in the introduction of electrical chargers, solar panels, and more.
Tesla has a Powerwall that you can use to conveniently charge your electric vehicle at home. Now dcbel wants to create some competition with its r16 charger. What makes it so interesting is its dual use.
Not only does the battery charge your car using solar panels, but you can also use your electric vehicle’s battery to power your home in an emergency. It’s a very unique system and I had the opportunity to speak with Marc-André Forget about what inspired the creation of the company, the future of energy and much more.
You can read the full interview below.
Would you like to introduce yourself and your role in the company?
I’m Marc-André Forget, CEO and founder of dcbel. I have spent my career developing new technologies and advising the world’s largest utility companies on introducing electric vehicles and distributed energy systems.
At dcbel, my team and I are developing a smart home energy system that combines solar energy, electric vehicle charging, vehicle-to-home charging and smart home energy management.
What inspired the founding of the company?
I founded dcbel together with Dan Fletcher and Ron Denom. We saw that solar energy and electric vehicles were the first steps in reshaping the average person’s relationship to energy.
This led to the question of what the future of the power grid would look like. Based on our respective experiences, we believe that the future of the power grid is sustainable and distributed.
Your new product is the R16 – in just a few sentences, what is it?
The dcbel r16 combines one of the fastest chargers for electric vehicles at home with solar energy conversion, blackout protection and smart home energy management.
With our product, users can benefit from renewable energies and make their home more energy-independent. It optimizes energy consumption in residential areas to be sustainable and cost-effective.
Have you had any difficulty designing and developing the R16?
Innovations in a new industry like EV charging are challenging due to the lack of standards for the underlying technology, including multiple types of charging plugs and types of software.
Conversely, innovation in established industries such as power distribution is also a challenge, as we have to integrate our product into the existing infrastructure.
How easy is it to install the system?
A dcbel r16 unit can be installed and connected in 2 to 4 hours for an average cost of $ 200 to $ 500. Installation costs and complexity can vary depending on the location and the specifics of your home.
On the website, you mention that you use machine learning to monitor batteries – in simple terms, how does it work and what does it mean for the user?
Orchestrate is our AI-powered software that allows you to choose your energy priorities – financial savings, lower carbon emissions, or a balance between the two. Orchestrate learns your energy consumption patterns and adapts to your lifestyle.
If you get home from work at 6 p.m. and leave at 7 a.m. the next morning, your EV can hypothetically be scheduled to charge from 2 a.m. to 6 a.m. if electricity is cheaper in your area.
Where do you see clean energy in the next five years? What about the next decade?
In the near future there will be a shift from the current energy model to a more decentralized and sustainable one. The individual will be at the center of this modern energy ecosystem and the way in which they use and generate energy will become increasingly independent, sustainable and efficient.
Apple revolutionized the smartphone industry by offering an all-in-one device that set the standard for integrating hardware with software, as well as design and user experience. We want to lead a similar revolution in smart home energy and make these innovations available to private consumers.
Do you want to close something?
We’re excited to launch our product in California this year, helping customers prepare for power outages during the forest fire season. This is a first step in empowering families to take control of their energy security.
I want to thank Marc for taking the time to answer some of my questions.