Working to ‘future proof’ electric vehicle charging.
Audi continues to develop ways of optimising changing solutions as the ‘electric fleet’ grows.
20 January, 2021
Each vehicle is charged, but not all at the same time, the system sharing the power load for an even distribution
While the benefits of electric vehicles are well documented, looking for and addressing any downsides both now and potentially in the future forms an integral part of Audi’s ongoing research and development program.
What would happen for example, if multiple EVs in a particular area were all plugged in to charge simultaneously? As more and more electric vehicles (EVs) find their way onto the roads, will that added demand on the power grid create issues, as some EV skeptics suggest?
To that end, Audi has been working on avoiding the problem of local power grid overload as the electric car fleet increases over time.
As part of a research project, Audi collaborated with GISA and other partners to simulate an overload scenario in the local power grid, where multiple electric vehicles were all charging simultaneously and using high power on a street supplied by a local network transformer.
To help deal with this situation, Audi has developed smart power meters to help optimise charging times for the most efficient use of power at peak times.
Called grid-optimised charging, it relies on information being shared securely between the electric vehicles themselves, the households and the power suppliers using Smart Meter Gateways (SMGs) to create an accurate picture of power needs at any given time.
With a clear picture of power needs as well as travel needs (when do you need the vehicle fully charged by), the systems sets about effectively managing where power goes and when, to optimise the use of the power and relieve an overload situation where everyone wants it all at the same time.
Each vehicle is charged, but not all at the same time, the system sharing the power load for an even distribution that removes the overload scenario. In the medium term, the new networking technology will allow the charging capacity, charging time, and charging duration to be controlled for each car.
Audi has also factored in variations to the scenario, whereby customers who are perhaps able to partially charge their vehicles at work for example, would receive discounts from their energy suppliers and thus further decrease the need for power overnight.
The system relies on a secure data link and a common language between all parties to work efficiently. To this end, The SMGW establishes a highly secure data connection between the house and the grid operator via a certified IT backend. All necessary information and control signals are transmitted in a targeted manner – either to the home energy management system (HEMS) or directly to the charging system connect that Audi offers as an option.
This allows the charging capacity of the Audi e-tron to be reduced as required – up to 11kW as standard and by up to 22kW upon request. Both models are equipped with the necessary intelligence, and Audi intends to provide its future electric models with this ability as well.
Intelligent charging of electric cars is an important element of the sustainable energy industry of the future. Provided that use is made of the potential, it may also be possible to use electric cars as flexible storage devices for solar and wind power – a resource with very inconsistent availability. AUDI AG has set itself ambitious targets on the way to emissions-free mobility – the company is working on making its vehicle fleet CO2-neutral by 2050. In order to achieve this aim, Audi is pursuing a broad electric offensive that involves launching around 20 fully electric models by 2025.
Intelligent charging of electric cars is an important element of the sustainable energy industry of the future
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