Car maker Volkswagen has signed a deal to boost the use of bidirectional charging in electric vehicles to provide power to the electricity grid.
Elli, the VW subsidiary that manages all activities related to charging and energy for the Group in Europe, has signed the deal with the Elia Group and its start-up re.alto. This covers trusted data, connectivity and market design as well as price signals and incentives for vehicle to grid (V2G) technologies.
Over the next few years, the partners will identify possible barriers to EV integration and explore how to showcase its benefits, for example by developing demonstrators.
This will allow users to charge EVs when there are high amounts of affordable renewable energy in the system, for example during the day rather than overnight, and inject the electricity stored in their EVs back into the grid when it needs it most. This would enable consumers to play an active part in the energy transition.
However it needs high speed, low latency communication and reliable network connections as well as links to the grid operators.
The signing of the memorandum of understanding also strengthens and expands the relationship between 50Hertz (the German subsidiary of the Elia Group) and Elli. This relationship started in 2020 and has already conducted projects in working with the electricity grid markets.
“An essential key to achieving climate neutrality lies in linking of the energy and mobility sectors,” said Elke Temme, the CEO of Elli (Volkswagen Group Charging) and Senior Vice President of Charging & Energy at Volkswagen. “Using the electric vehicle battery as a mobile power bank delivers a triple benefit: Firstly, the climate benefits as renewable energy can be stored and therefore be used more efficiently; secondly, the electric grid benefits, as the car can contribute toward grid stability, and thirdly, the customer can earn additional revenue with vehicle-to-grid services. To explore the benefits of this consumer-centric approach, this cooperation with Elia Group is crucial for us.”
Chris Peeters, the CEO of the Elia Group, added: “The rapid rise in electric vehicles is reinforcing the need for cooperation between the electricity and mobility sectors. We want to enable the increasing number of EV users to charge their EVs while keeping the electricity system in balance.
“As a next step, the batteries of these cars will also be able to be used in such a way that they will contribute to the overall levels of energy comfort experienced by end users,” he said, “Elli shares the same vision of the future regarding electric mobility as us and also has a strong focus on digital innovations. In the context of sector convergence, we are therefore the ideal partners to develop digital consumer services together.”
The two companies will explore ways that price signals will enable and incentivise e-vehicle owners to use their vehicles as decentralised storage capacity through vehicle-to-grid technology and so support the power system. This will also involve working on removing barriers that are preventing EV fleets and consumers from choosing their suppliers, smart charging service providers and aggregators at charging poles.
The trusted data has to ensure that EV data is recognised as reliable and secure and can be used by the power system and this needs mechanisms that allow the safe transmission of data, defining roles and responsibilities related to steering the charging behaviour of e-vehicles whilst ensuring connectivity remains safe and secure.
Each partner will contribute its own expertise to the work on the four fields. Elli will share its experience as a provider of charging infrastructure, mobility services, flexibility services and electricity provider. The know-how of the Elia Group centres on the challenges and opportunities that the energy transition is creating for the electricity system.
re.alto – which was established by the Elia Group in 2019 – has an extensive understanding of digital marketplaces and the connection of energy data as well as of digital products for application programming interfaces.
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