With the growth of electric vehicles, efficient charging is becoming increasingly important. Smart charging offers the solution to this. For instance, smart charging allows you to ensure that your electric vehicles run largely on self-generated clean (solar) energy. But it can also take into account current energy prices for example. A smart battery system is able to take into account a complex mix of factors to charge in the right way and at the right time.
A new dimension in charging
Of course, you can plug in your electric vehicle at a charging station and wait for the battery to charge. But opting for smart charging makes it a lot more efficient, greener and potentially even financially beneficial. This technological innovation takes into account factors such as energy prices, availability of clean energy and in some cases even trip schedules for example.
Cutting costs and relieving the grid
Imagine your car charging at the charging station at six in the evening. With a smart charging station, the charging time is optimised, for example by using off-peak hours. In that case, the charging station not only knows that the off-peak tariff applies between 11 p.m. and 7 a.m., but can also calculate whether there is enough time to recharge your battery. So you save money, avoid peak consumption and still be able to hit the road when it’s needed with a fully charged battery.
A tank full of solar power
The power of solar energy can also be harnessed with smart charging. If a company has solar panels on the roof, their cars can be charged with self-generated energy. The charging station can cleverly combine this – if necessary – with power from the grid, so you are always driving with clean energy.
Smart charging can bring a financially interesting aspect. Charging electric vehicles (with clean solar power) can generate sustainable certificates. These are a kind of tradable certificates to encourage sustainable mobility. If, as a company, you charge electric vehicles in your own car park, for example, you can generate these certificates by doing so. This is interesting because it can indirectly reduce the price per charged kWh considerably. Multiple countries within the European Union have such certificates in place. While the details differ per country, the core remains the same: a financial incentive for charging sustainably.
Another aspect of smart charging is load balancing. Load balancing takes your company’s available power into account. Suppose a lot of power is needed for a machine, a lift or a heat pump, for example, load balancing ensures that the charge points do not exceed the available power. The available power, taking into account the power required by the heat pump, for example, is distributed equally among the charge points.
An application attracting increasing attention is bi-directional charging of electric vehicles. This technology allows an electric car to both charge and discharge. In other words, it becomes a battery on wheels. More and more car brands are preparing their electric cars for this technology. For households, this could be a great solution that could obviate the need for a home battery. Suppose you regularly go to work in your electric car, then charge your car there. Preferably using solar power generated by the company itself with solar panels on the roof. You then take your full battery on wheels home where it acts as a source of energy for your home.
While two-way charging for mobile home battery use will become a strong application, we do not see it as a solution for balancing the network and reducing grid congestion. In technical jargon, we also talk about Vehicle-To-Grid (V2G) applications. Here, the aim is to use the capacity of electric cars to balance the power grid in case of overproduction or underproduction of power. We are concerned that electric cars cannot provide sufficient availability and flexibility to actually make a significant contribution to this solution.