Honda Smart Home With Fit EV, Solar, and ESS – Presentation Videos

9 months ago by Mark Kane 28

A few years ago, Honda and the University of California, Davis launched a Smart Home project focused on energy efficiency.

Honda Smart Home US

Honda Smart Home US

A great amount of the efficiency solutions were part of the project, including a 9.5 kW solar rooftop installation and an electric car – in this case, a Honda Fit EV, with both a charging station and an energy storage system present.

The project was recently presented by Auto 0-60’s Javier Mota (the first video concern the home, and the second one the garage specifically).

More about the Honda Smart Home US here.

“Honda Smart Home US, construction of which began in April 2013, will serve as a residence for a member of the UC Davis community, whose selection will soon be announced. The fully-furnished home comes equipped with a Honda Fit EV battery electric vehicle for the resident’s daily transportation.”

“In addition to showcasing Honda’s vision for sustainable, zero-carbon living and personal mobility, the home will function as a living laboratory where the company, along with researchers from UC Davis and Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E), will evaluate new technologies and business opportunities at the intersection of housing, transportation, energy and the environment.”

Honda Fit EV in Honda Smart Home US

Honda Fit EV in Honda Smart Home US

Honda Fit EV in Honda Smart Home US

Honda Fit EV in Honda Smart Home US

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28 responses to "Honda Smart Home With Fit EV, Solar, and ESS – Presentation Videos"

  1. Mike I. says:

    I have known for some time that the experimental system in the Davis Smart Home has a DC-DC CHAdeMO charger that can put solar power directly into the car’s battery. This should be commercialized somehow because, as the gentleman said in the video, it is more efficient than converting to AC and back to DC charging the vehicle battery.

    The stationary battery is only 10kWh, but it uses the same kind of battery that’s in the Fit EV, which can charge and drain at relatively high C rates without shortening their life. The problem is that they’re expensive. I think you can do a lot more with 40kWh of battery.

    There is a lot more information at hondasmarthome.com

    1. Martin Winlow says:

      Yes, except the *cheapest* version of commercially available CHAdeMO charger is about USD8k (from China) where as an AC one can be bought for as little as USD300. Even the CHAdeMO plug costs about USD500, let alone the rest of it.

      However, I am sure we will see a huge amount of development in this idea as Tesla Powerwall and similar products start getting popular. Also, the electronics required for DC charging can be a lot less complex, and therefore expensive, than AC.

      1. cros13 says:

        Well in those $8k chademo chargers one of the primary costs is rectifiers and breakers for the AC supply. Also higher rated cables an breakers for ~50kW would not be needed.

    2. zzzzzzzzzz says:

      What makes you think that DC to DC voltage change will be cheaper? One of the reasons AC got popular is that it makes easy and cheap to transform voltage to whatever voltage you need. Granted we have electronics today and induction transformers may be not the only option, but you can’t just plug 600 V or whatever random voltage PV string into 400 V battery, you need inverter in any case. That would include switching converter which may be considered DC to AC to DC conversion.

      1. Mike I. says:

        It’s even more simple than that if the solar string voltage is higher than the EV pack voltage. You just have to have a bunch of IGBTs to let through the amount of current needed for optimum solar operation (MPPT) and not exceed the car’s allowable charging current. Any power above and beyond what the car could take would go to the AC grid inverter, or they could have some other power splitting algorithm to optimize self-consumption between the house AC loads, the stationary battery, and the EV battery.

      2. Mike I. says:

        Oh, one more thing. Nobody said direct DC charging was cheaper. I said it was more efficient, which would justify a slightly higher cost.

  2. Michael will says:

    I love the clean room look of the garage

  3. Djoni says:

    Can you still just buy the car?

    1. sven says:

      I don’t think you ever had the option to buy the Fit EV. I’m pretty sure it was always lease only. And when the Fit EVs came off lease, Honda offered the pre-owned Fit EVs once again for lease only.

      I believe Honda received the full CARB credits by leasing the Fit EVs.

      Link to lease a pre-owned Fit EV:
      http://automobiles.honda.com/fit-ev/

    2. Mike I. says:

      No, you can’t buy the Fit EV. Also, the one at that house is probably the only one in the United States with a CHAdeMO port.

    3. mx9000 says:

      This was when Honda had balls.
      Today it’s a Loser.

  4. Bill Howland says:

    Excuse me if I’m underwhelmed by all this.

    As far as efficiency goes – why don’t they insulate their water piping, and what’s with the (rather inefficient) air conditioning condenser if they’re using a water furnace?

    The uninitiated – even these guys – make way too big of a deal over the savings of keeping stuff dc all the way from the solar panels to the EV.

    You still need a buck/boost converter to ‘level match’ the solar output with the particular charge of the car battery, or ‘ESS’ energy-storage-system batteries (which they mentioned are the same as the car).

    Current LED drive modules can run on any ac or dc input, but still have diodes in the circuit so there is no change in efficiency with them. My Solar inverters are at least 97% efficient, so its pretty good. I dare say their ‘level converters’ aren’t any better, if even that good.

    But efficiency can be had even in 57 years homes such as mine, with all its original single pane windows, albeit mostly with additional storm windows.

    My Gas company constantly refuses my gas meter readings since they say I couldn’t possibly be using so little gas – they don’t even know I use EIGHT gas appliances.

    They didn’t mention the annual solar output, but my system only makes around 9300 kwh/year. That is much more than I use to run the whole house and charge 2 evs – good thing because my utility only gives me 2 1/2 cents/ kwh this year on the annual excess. The biggest bonus is NET METERING at no charge, so I don’t have to worry about when I use the juice – Batteries in fact are Illegal by state law, but they’re totally unnecessary anyway, for anyone who is not time-of-day metered, as I am not.

    Also, I’m sure to offend someone, but why do all these million dollar ‘showcase’ homes have the styling of a ‘Lean-To’ Shack?

    1. GeorgeS says:

      “Also, I’m sure to offend someone, but why do all these million dollar ‘showcase’ homes have the styling of a ‘Lean-To’ Shack?”

      They want the solar panels to face south.

      And I don’t think it’s a million dollar home. Looks like a subdivision in west Phoenix to me.

      1. Martin Winlow says:

        Fortunately we don’t all want to live in a ‘Real Housewives of Atlanta’-style bling-y pile, thanks very much. They look that way (believe it or not) because with current technology, that is the most efficient – thermally and financially – way to do it.

        If this sort of house design offends you, I strongly recommend you do not bother to ever visit Scandinavia.

        1. VazzedUp says:

          +1

      2. Bill Howland says:

        GeorgeS:

        If its anywhere near San Francisco, its a million dollars.

        Governor Moonbeam is in some of the pictures, so that clinches it.

        It might have a decent roof slab for the solar stuff, but all those ill-formed-shaped boxes increase the surface area exposed to the elements and make it behave like a ‘hard to heat’ ranch.

        My 2 story colonial needs so little heating or cooling simply because there is so little wall area exposed to the elements. And the rest is easy to fully insulate.

    2. Martin Winlow says:

      “Excuse me if I’m underwhelmed by all this…”

      Hi Bill (I assume you are the same BH from EVDL?)

      There is no aircon – what you see is a ground-sourced heat pump (HP) which extracts heat from the ground (in this case – but it could be the air or even the sea instead) and puts it into the underfloor heating water. It can also be reversed to extract heat from the floor and put it into the hot water tank. It does this, typically at an efficiency of about 3:1 ie you put in 1 unit of electrical power (to run the circulation pumps and refrigerant compressor) and you get out 3 units of heat (or ‘cool’). I had my old oil-fired boiler replaced with an air-source HP last year and it works well… down to about -5 degrees C. After that the efficiency drops so I have a wood burning stove to supplement it. For this reason a ground sourced HP is much better and, if the tech been available for reasonable cost when I did the foundations for this house 15 years ago, I would have had a GSHP from the start. Heating oil had (before the big oil price fall) trebled in price over those 14 years or so, here in the UK.

      1. Bill Howland says:

        Put on your glasses Martin:

        At 7 18 there is clearly an outside condenser, or if you prefer, an “Air Sourced Heat Pump” (!) ( I have one of those also, with a COP of 3). Big deal.

        Water source heat pumps have COPs of 4.5 or better.

        As far as prefering a ‘bling house’, my home is a 1959 Colonial, but the owner/builder at the time chose a more ‘timeless’ styling.

        My home looks like it could be 200 years old, as there are almost identical houses in this country much older than even that.

        Even inside, the house is ‘old-fashioned colonial’, and I’m not remodeling it out, other than perhaps the washrooms.

        This house on display is typical 2016 ‘Moderne’ – what with steel stringed ballasters, downlighting, and chrome track lighting – things almost certain to go out of vogue with the passage of time and demand a remodel.

        Nope never heard of that magazine.

        1. VazzedUp says:

          Glasses on, and you can see that the MiniSplit heat pump is on a separate building that looks to be an information area that is not connected or part of the home. (easy to see if you do a little looking on google maps).
          https://www.google.com/maps/place/Honda+Smart+Home+U.S.+Visitors+Center/@38.5424702,-121.7719733,35a,20y,78.48h,67.22t/data=!3m1!1e3!4m5!3m4!1s0x0:0x8d3a438320622faa!8m2!3d38.5425182!4d-121.7709616

          1. Bill Howland says:

            Yes, well, an ‘infomation area’? SO its rather spliting hairs where the ‘informative house’ starts and the ‘informative vestibule’ ends.

            My Utility, British-Owned National Grid, is supporting a “Smart-Home-of-the-future” in a very run-down section of Buffalo NY, along with the adjacent houses. These are all run-down places with the bricks falling out in the rear of the house, but you are not supposed to look at the ‘full house’.

            One of the adjacent run-down homes has a 200 amp 3-phase service, the other having a 400 amp 3-phase service, as well as the ‘Smart-Home’ itself. (The effective power capacity is as though it were 300, and 600 amps, single phase, respectively). There is also a Beautiful “S & C” Green Medium Voltage Box in the back yard, as well as a huge 3-phase pad transformer, not unlike what you’d see at a supermarket, not to be confused with the diminutive thing on modern front lawns that can be easily landscaped with bushes.

            It has always puzzled me why these so-called Zero Energy homes require such huge electric services. They always claim “Energy Star” appliances and LED lighting throughout. So why the need for a 600 amp effective electric service since this particular house doesn’t even have air conditioning?

            Perhaps that is why it is not open to the public yet. The only good thing is they put in a ChargePoint 208 volt 30 amp hitching post wallbox by the parking lot for the public to use.

  5. GeorgeS says:

    It looks like an OK concept….just lose the FitEV

  6. CBonville says:

    Quoting the article: “…new technologies and business opportunities at the intersection of housing, transportation, energy and the environment.”

    Yes, and now hopefully more people understand why Tesla Motors + Tesla Gigafactory + Solar City makes good business sense.

  7. Brett says:

    The fact that the ‘smart’ home includes a car that Honda does not sell, panels Honda does not sell, probably nothing Honda sells, seems to imply that Honda is not smart.

    Then there’s Tesla which sells all of this junk, and it’s taken for granted that they’re smart.

  8. Martin Winlow says:

    I think Honda are having us on a bit, here. For them to spout this twaddle when, despite all their talk of visionary thinking (let alone the fabulous and fabulously expensive TV ads along the same lines) *and* all their technical expertise and financial strength, they still haven’t got a single EV on the market…

  9. Terawatt says:

    If only I had been the chosen one! I’d park the Fit, once, outside the home and plug in my differently-branded car in the garage! 😀

  10. bukweetz says:

    Why so much hate on the Fit EV?

    I’ve been driving one for the past three years, and as a daily commuter vehicle it works out just fine. Sure, it’s no Tesla M3, but the Fit EV is roomy and practical, and in sport mode it’s really a lot of fun to drive.

    Sven is correct: the Fit EV was never offered for sale, only for lease. But it’s a pretty good lease: $200/month, and Honda provides collision insurance and pays for all repairs and maintenance. And mileage is unlimited.

    I recently extended my Fit EV lease for an additional two years, and hopefully by then the Tesla M3 will be available.

    1. jim stack says:

      bukweetz, You are one of the very few who got a FIT-EV Lease. No sales, no production over the 1,100 required. We agree it’s a nice EV but like the GM EV1 it can’t be bought or used by more people. It will be crushed with our hopes for a better cleaner world.

  11. Bacardi says:

    Overall kudos and I understand the project started construction in 2013 meaning I’m sure a lot of the key decisions were most likely made in 2012…It just appears the entirely then wrong “segment” to put these expensive systems in place…If you had a builder build this same house the conventional way using the industry standards, it’s like a $100K home…People interested in these technologies likely live in a far larger home and likely drive a Tesla…