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Origins of the DCC: Made for Electricians by Electricians

Meeting with creator of the DCC and co-founder of RVE, David Corbeil, he explains how RVE’s flagship product, the DCC (short for Demand Charge Controller), came to be, and how it started as a project supported by family and the knowledge and heart of several electricians in his life.

Growing up in the electric world

The Corbeil family has a fairly long history working closely with electricians and the electrical industry. Where did it start?

In 1989, the Corbeil family electrical business was founded by my parents Linda Laliberté and Pierre Corbeil. My father had been a practicing electrician for 10 years and my mother worked in accounting. Their entrepreneurship and dedication to a family business definitely shaped how I grew up and impacted the values I have, and the heart I put into my own business – still a family one with my sister Marie-Pier Corbeil – today.

Then did the interest in electric vehicles start with the family-business that your dad started?

The interest in electric vehicles started somewhere around 2011, at a time when the first BEV’s (100% battery-powered electric vehicles), hit the road. And the interest only grew more deeply following a purchase of electric vehicles in 2014, which gave our family business an edge in understanding electric vehicle charging and installations, something that was very early for drivers and the transportation industry still. The business my dad started still leads the way in this specialization, having accomplished and continuing to accomplish countless EV infrastructure and charging station installations.

The Corbeil family during a visit to Tesla’s California factory, 2018

Solving the challenges of EV charging

What were the early insights into electric vehicles then?

It always starts with energy capacity or the available space leftover on a household electric panel and the short of it is that…in the majority of cases, energy capacity is already limited and increasing a service is an expensive and complicated process.

To try to simplify it: to get reliable charging every day, or about 30 kilometres per hour of charging, having a 32 amp or level 2 charger is a safe choice … and this is about double the need of an oven. 

Panels have limited energy available for these high-need appliances and so a device like the DCC or a panel upgrade is often the solution for single-family homes. But in a condo, an apartment, a multi-family home, or a MURB as we call it in Quebec, where is the panel capacity for multiple 32 amp chargers in the parking garage of a building? Solving that problem was what got my attention.

“But in a condo, an apartment, a multi-family home, or a MURB as we call it in Quebec, where is the panel capacity for multiple 32 amp chargers in the parking garage of a building? Solving that problem was what got my attention.”

— David Corbeil, CEO and Co-Founder

So what part did you play in trying to solve this problem?

I was working as an electrician for the family company and at UQAM studying business management, but at home my dad and I would talk a lot about energy management systems. Having a system that monitors and manages energy in a building is not new, but it’s usually the case that these systems are built into commercial and industrial buildings. We tried to use the idea but apply it to electric vehicles and residential buildings specifically.

What is the DCC origin story?

The DCC is the end product of many prototypes. As I’ve said, energy management and load management might not be new, but how these concepts could be applied to multi-unit buildings needed to be treated differently, because of the differences in a MURB’s electrical infrastructure. We were inspired by Thermolec’s technology, eventually worked on a patent together, and the rest fell into place. Now we have a range of DCC’s that work in all kinds of buildings – multi-unit or multi-family, townhomes, and single-family homes.

How did that partnership take place?

Thermolec, founded in 1973, was our first choice to manufacture what was still then called the M9 and what later became the DCC, or Demand Charge Controller. By 2018 they were our dedicated producers, everything built in Quebec, and shipping across North America. Now we have 2 factory locations to ensure that we meet demand.

The year RVE was founded
The year Thermolec was founded
Cycling, a shared passion
Golf, a shared interest
Access to multi-residential charging, thanks to the DCC
L’industrie électrique, au coeur des deux entreprises
Where the newly built location for DCC manufacturing is located
Symbol of Montreal, where the DCC is proudly manufactured
Many of the employees who make the DCCs are women!
More than 25 000 EVs powered by the DCC
La majorité des employés de Thermolec sont d’origine Philippine
Thermolec’s logo

For its fiftieth anniversary, RVE gave Thermolec a mural depicting their shared history.

Members of RVE and the Thermolec team working on the DCC in front of the mural.

David Corbeil and Thermolec employees at the DCC factory

Didn’t the DCC win a major prize while you were still in your studies?

Yes, in 2015, while Marie-Pier was finishing her Master’s degree in Instructional Design and I had just established the partnership with Thermolec, while RVE was still very new, we were awarded the first prize of the Pierre-Péladeau scholarship from Québecor, worth $50,000. This recognition really gave us a lot of confidence, and credibility, in thinking that we were onto something important and needed in the transformation of home charging.

The future of the DCC

How do you think that the DCC by RVE will transform home charging?

We were there when the wheel started turning for transportation electrification… to see how electric vehicles were being adopted and how charging problems were being tackled. And at this point, the wheel won’t stop.

It can be very hard to want to make the switch to driving an EV (electric vehicle) only to find out how costly it can be to install a charging system. We are dedicated to providing an affordable gateway to charging for homeowners, and a straightforward option for electricians and contractors who have a huge stake in the growth of the EV industry now too.

What is the future for RVE, Thermolec, and all its other partners and collaborators?

We are ambitious and we work with ambitious partners who share our vision for transportation electrification. We are prepared for what comes next in North American electric vehicle driving and continue to innovate in our in-office lab with staff engineers and electricians to develop solutions for all buildings. The process may not take place overnight, but we work with all levels: provincial and municipal government, utilities, policy makers, electrical distributors and electricians, property managers and condo boards, in order to make the most secure, smart, and long-lasting products, decisions, and impact.

And we are excited to announce that new technologies and innovations are currently being developed and tested. We invite you to follow along with our journey, or to work with us in our mission to transform the home charging industry.


Transforming the home charging industry

For RVE, access to home charging is crucial to enabling the electric transition in North America. Discover the full story of RVE, from its beginnings to its most recent developments.

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