Some companies focus on the end goal of bringing EV charging to MURBs. Evolute’s emphasis is on identifying the available power in the building and optimizing it through smart management. This allows maximum flexibility for all residents to use electricity at higher volumes, in whatever way they see t. Photo: EVdirect
EVdirect offers Evolute as an agnosc smart energy management system for EV charging in MURBs — today and in the future
Standing under a 30-storey multi-unit residential building, the first thing you notice is the incredible amount of steel, glass or concrete towering above.
Very rarely do residents consider what goes on behind the walls of a high rise and how it may affect their way of living. This is particularly true when it comes to owning — and charging — an EV in multi-unit residential buildings (MURBs).
EVdirect thinks about the power and labyrinth of electrical wiring and network of panels that goes on behind the drywall of a MURB. The result of such intense focus is a smart panel system for power delivery and capacity management: the Evolute.
It, among other things, makes high volume EV charging in MURBs a manageable and potentially beneficial undertaking.
“Our approach to EVs is a little bit different than most of the players out there. We’re not focused on the appliance at the end of the line,” explains David Ackermann, founder and CVO at EVdirect.
“Power is the key factor in all of this. We focus on the power at the beginning of the line and, therefore, allow any appliance to operate at the end.”
Power, not products
EVdirect employs a simple, yet powerful shift in thinking.
Some companies focus on the end goal of bringing EV charging to MURBs. EVdirect’s emphasis is on identifying the available power in the building and optimizing it through smart management. This allows maximum flexibility for all residents to use electricity at higher volumes, in whatever way they see t.
Additional features and products include Dynamic Load Throttling Architecture Response System (DLTA-R.S.). This allows more charging stations to be installed than the peak capacity of the building can handle. DLTA-R.S. monitors the main electrical service of the building. It dynamically throttles down/up the Evolute’s upper power limit during peak circumstances.
All Evolute panels are networked together with Cat5 wiring. They communicate with each other and throttle limits based on live active users. Once power in the building goes below the pre-set values, all Evolute panels will return to their default programmed state.
“We believe that the charging station is a small appliance like any other small appliance,” says Ackermann. “Our whole approach to EV charging is infrastructure that works for end users — in the sense that they can do what they want with it.”
This ensures fair power distribution to those needing it for charging, while giving residents and property managers autonomy.
The Evolute system functions with or without intervention, with or without internet. It can be managed by building administrators via a dashboard or by EVdirect remotely. The system provides key metrics and insights into a building’s load patterns. An app for end-users provides access control, transparency of power usage and billing. It also allows for customized scheduling and other AI driven features.
“This allows end users and property managers to be as involved or uninvolved as they like,” says Ackermann.
“The Evolute is a system that works for multiple power management use cases, including load sharing, monitoring, tracking and billing. An example of this is in new construction where the Toronto Green Standard 4 (TGS4) requires 15 per cent of all bike racks to have a 15A 120v receptacle. Now you can manage your EV’s, bikes and any other loads with one system. We do everything in house. We don’t outsource anything, we are constantly developing and optimizing our technology to make it easier and more flexible for all parties involved in the energy transition,” says Ackermann.
“A lot of this came about through our partnership with Eaton Canada.”
Real world applications
EVdirect’s partnership with Eaton Canada, a global power management company, started in 2018. The formalized relationship was the catalyst for the Evolute’s development.
The Evolute system uses industry standard, tried, tested and true Eaton components:
Smart Multi-Metering — Built-in individual smart meters track the usage of each owner’s consumption as well as the entire system. The data is stored in a secure Canadian-based cloud server and available to all users
Easy Monitoring & Billing — The automated billing platform is seamless and easy to set up. The Evolute is flexible and can charge owners based on time-of-use or at rate, depending on the corporations preferences. Other options include; making the data available for admins to use for internal billing, or allowing sub-metering companies to add their equipment and bill accordingly.
Load Management — The Evolute’s sophisticated algorithm can be pre-set or adjusted in the future to meet a variety of load sharing ratios and minimum acceptable standards. Typical multipliers include 2X, 3X and 4X existing available power and distributing it fairly over an 8-12hr period.
Charger-agnostic outlets — The system is compatible with all EVSE makes and models, including the portable station that comes with the EV.
“We worked together to create a menu of options, so customers could build custom configurations to suit their needs,” said Aditya Ramesh, product manager of Eaton Canada, in a press release for the partnership announcement.
“We introduced different footprints, different hardware features, different amperages— and then we explained how the dimensions would look for each configuration.”
EVdirect and Eaton ultimately want to sell Evolute through Eaton’s distributor network.
Ahead of the curve
Evolute is, in part, a response to a current market shift. Building codes across Canada are changing to include EV-readiness requirements in MURBs.
But EVdirect is anticipating that market needs will evolve. Evolute is a system for the future.
“We want to focus on the power and focus on infrastructure that can really grow and change with the needs of the operators, building owners and end-users,” says Ackermann.
“People don’t want to get locked into charging stations. Our system is one of the only systems out there that allows builders to put in a NEMA receptacle and everything in front of that receptacle, and through our smart panel, it will be compatible. It removes the appliance from the equation.”
And with that comes the ability to have the Evolute move with the times, so to speak.
“We don’t know what’s coming in the future in terms of the way people charge and what’s going to happen in the charging space. Our system focuses on power at the beginning of the line, we don’t care what is around the curve,” says Ackermann.
“Developers and engineers are specifying a charging station today for occupancy in three years. We all know that in the next three years we are going to go from an iPhone 14 to an iPhone 20. It’s the same with charging stations. Why would you spec a charging station today for occupancy when you know that it will be obsolete by the time you actually start to use it? Instead, put in a receptacle, allow end-users at the time of occupancy to purchase the latest and greatest appliance with all the features they want and still provide all the load management and software needed for ratio-based charging”
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