May 2022 Smart Energy News

By Pilgrim - May 18, 2022

Today we announced our new platform DevicePilot Core which can manage fleets of millions of devices at a cost as low as £0.01/device/month.

Do watch a 2 minute video, read the release or the FAQ - and let me know if you have any questions.


  • The UK will mandate 99% reliability for rapid charging by end of 2023 (though only for rapid charging which seems a mistaken analogy with petrol/gas pumps - and see equiv. Tesla stat below).
  • UK ranks #3 in LeasePlan’s EV readiness index by country
  • East of England somewhat neglected for EV charging as not en-route to anywhere, but now GridServe open their second electric forecourt in Norwich.
  • Following my interview with Moixa founder Simon Daniel last month, watch them manage charging the UPS London electric van fleet.
  • Statkraft-backed EV charging provider Mer has bought Elmtronics - and with it UK customers including ASDA, Fedex and Octopus Energy.
  • Rapid charging isn't immune to energy price rises - Instavolt now charging 57p/kWh, more than double what some networks were charging only a few months ago, leading to calls to reduce VAT from 20% to 5%.
  • Perhaps cutting a slot in the pavement/sidewalk is a simple solution for on-street charging?
  • The road to better battery tech is full of promising discoveries, many of which never quite pan out, but now Drexel University claims to have discovered a way to make lithium-sulphur batteries last a long time potentially delivering 3x energy density over today’s Li-ion.
  • At home our latest vehicle is an e-bike - and I’m impressed. As with an EV, putting a battery onboard enables more than just traction - including decent lights and a geo-tracker.
  • The Fully Charged Live show was great. Not only EVs but also electric scooters, skateboards, tractors, trucks… even a Pipistrelle e-plane which achieves similar kWh/mile to an EV, though its range is only 100miles. Parcel delivery firm DPD told me they haven’t bought an ICE vehicle since 2020 - the couldn't say when we'll be able to specify pure electric delivery end-to-end. Biggest smiles by far were for the VW ID.Buzz and an electric Delorean.
  • Highlights from the Tesla 2021 Impact Report just out include:
    • Their solar panels have produced more energy than used by all their factories and all their cars
    • Performance of a Porsche, efficiency of a Prius, TCO of a Camry
    • Real-world crash data used to optimise airbag algorithms
    • 10x fewer fires than ICE vehicles
    • Production target of 40TWh of battery storage a year
    • US Grid outages becoming more common
    • Going big on circular economy for battery recycling (92% efficient) and on ethical mining (Australia looking key)
    • Full Scope 1, 2 & 3 reporting
    • 99.95% uptime at Supercharger sites!

Smart Energy

  • Starring in our Smart Energy People podcast this month is Peter Bance of Origami Energy which he founded to be the digital glue between the physics of energy assets and the economics of energy markets.
  • The historically feckless approach of the English government to onshore wind has left huge opportunities untapped… into which breach now steps:
  • Meanwhile in offshore wind, China has the biggest capacity today, but the UK tops the global chart for planned capacity. Bring it on!
  • Octopus has emerged as an investor in Xlinks, the project to send solar electricity 3800km from Morocco to the UK via subsea cables.
  • Lovely picture of the Californian grid running >100% carbon-free
  • Texas should be so lucky - its appalling 'grid' allowed wholesale electricity prices to be $317/MWh in one part of the state while being -$883/MWh in another!
  • Speaking of grids, the latest episode of Cleaning Up has fantastic interview with the CEO of National Grid (big in the US as well as the UK) who sounds like he's on the case. 
  • Recommended reading this month is the new whitepaper from Geo whose new HEMS offering launched last month, co-written with heat pump specialists Vaillant. The first of 3 whitepapers, it details:
    • How heatpumps in just 20% of homes may stress LV networks and make DSR a must - and perhaps local storage. But DSR can be a “diversity killer” by synchronising loads.
    • The need for a “common language” for managing smart energy (EEBUS, Matter, OCPP, OpenADR)
    • How battling CEMs (“Customer Energy Manager”) services might deliver non-optimal outcomes, in the context of the PAS1878 “energy smart appliance” standard.
    • How smart meters can be leveraged to resolve some of these challenges (Geo’s new CEO ran one of the biggest smart meter vendors Landis & Gyr)
  • Also read a seminal 2020 paper “Heating without the hot air” on using heat pumps as flexible heat load. And check out an interesting tool to calculate home heat loss, room by room.
  • Sense, which deploys ML on smart meters for home energy management, just raised a $105m Series C.
  • The UK’s first green lithium refinery is under construction
  • Algae might be the cheapest way to do carbon capture, sub $100/ton.
  • I joined TCS and Microsoft to discuss smart energy and customer experience.
  • At home, I want to shift excess solar and cheap electricity but was put off by the price and 10-month wait for a Tesla Powerwall so went for a 2-part DIY solution (batteries+inverter) at ~60% of the installed cost of a Powerwall, and with more incremental expandability. My expectation that it would require more faffing-about has already been met, as I now have the batteries installed but still await the arrival of my inverter from China, delayed by some combination perhaps of chip shortages, COVID and the global energy crisis.


  • Devices can leak what the EU GDPR calls Personal Data, which the USA calls Personally-Identifiable Information (PII). Why use the same term when you can use a different one. Maybe the US needs equivalent laws, as for $160 a company has sold a data dump of all visitors to Planned Parenthood.
  • Libelium launch One - a box with worldwide coverage, connect any sensor, fully remote-managed, no code. 
  • Early US Smart Home player Insteon, which at one point allegedly had 100k+ users, has gone bankrupt leaving customers with bricked systems. Which is why we bang on about the importance of developing a robust recurring revenue business model.
  • Meanwhile Sigfox is back from the brink, thanks to Singapore IoT provider Unabiz.
  • Ukrainian John Deere tractors stolen by Russian military were then disabled remotely.
  • Silicon Labs (which acquired the ZigBee silicon pioneer Ember a while ago) looks to be a strong player in ZigBee’s successor Matter, with their BG24/MG24 chips.
  • Cambridge University “bio-battery” similar to an AA cell can power an IoT device in theory forever from light. Benefits might include lower embodied energy?
  • And finally, and yes, literally - it really is the Internet of Shit.

Until next month,



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Erik Fairbairn, CEO at POD Point:
Achieved 99% uptime across device estate

"We're totally data driven at POD Point, and if we can answer a question using data then we think that’s the best way - there’s no guesswork and you can use the facts.

Our DevicePilot dashboards have really let us get that actionable insight out of our devices."