The Future of Electric Car Smart Charging: Unlocking the Potential of a Complete Energy System

Electric vehicles (EVs) are rapidly gaining popularity as an eco-friendly alternative to traditional gasoline-powered cars. As the EV market expands, so does the need for efficient charging solutions that maximize renewable energy usage and reduce overall energy system costs.

Smart charging, combined with bidirectional charging capabilities (V2G), offers a promising solution by enabling flexible charging strategies and promoting the adoption of renewable energy sources. In this article, we will explore the benefits and potential of smart charging for electric vehicles.

The Need for Smart Charging

Renewable energy sources such as wind and solar power have variable output, which can lead to supply shortages during periods of low generation. Smart charging systems address this issue by allowing EVs to charge at times of optimal availability, thereby reducing strain on the grid and maximizing the use of renewable energy.

A study conducted by Blumberg et al. (2022) found that smart charging, in combination with bidirectional charging (V2G), could significantly reduce overall energy system costs and increase investment in variable renewable energy sources.

Already today, we offer a smart charging application called Enefit Volt Home, that enables electric car owners to automatically optimise their charging expenses based on the Nordpool energy market.

Reducing CO2 Emissions

The transition to electric vehicles is crucial for achieving climate neutrality and reducing CO2 emissions. By implementing smart charging strategies, EVs can be charged when renewable energy generation is high, leading to a greater share of renewable energy in the power mix.

The study by Blumberg et al. (2022) suggests that smart charging can contribute to a substantial increase in the use of variable renewable power, such as solar energy, while also reducing curtailment (deliberate reduction in energy output) and lowering CO2 prices. This combination of factors results in a more sustainable and environmentally friendly energy system.

Flexibility and Grid Integration

Future smart charging systems not only optimize the use of renewable energy but also enhance grid stability and resilience. By coordinating charging schedules and considering grid conditions, smart charging can help balance electricity supply and demand, reducing the need for additional backup capacity.

This is not only helpful for you as the EV owner, it can benefit the European energy markets as a whole, as flexibility can significantly lower both electricity and CO2 prices. Additionally, the use of energy storage, including EV batteries, can further enhance grid stability and reduce dependence on fossil fuel power plants.

At Enefit, we have been testing and developing this capability and are moving towards creating complete energy system’s for households with an electric car, solar panels, energy storage or HVAC devices.

This means that in the future, your smart charging algorithm will not only calculate the optimal charging schedule based on the upcoming Nordpool spot prices, but will also take in account:

  • how much electricity is your house consuming,
  • what are the signals from the flexibility markets regarding the grid consumption,
  • what’s your current state for your battery storage,
  • how much energy are your solar panels producing;

and the calculations will happen in the background, when it’s the most optimal time for your car to charge and decide the energy source, whether it’s the grid, your storage device or your solar panels.

V2G Charging

In addition to smart charging, another exciting concept in the world of electric vehicles is Vehicle-to-Grid (V2G) charging. V2G technology allows EVs to not only draw power from the grid but also feed excess energy back into it when needed. This bidirectional flow of electricity opens up new possibilities for grid integration and energy management; and again something that we have been testing here at Enefit.

Despite its immense potential, V2G charging still faces some barriers to widespread adoption. One of the main challenges is the development of standardized communication protocols between EVs and the grid. Establishing a common language accepted by car makers that enables seamless interaction and control is essential for effective V2G implementation.

Additionally, concerns about battery degradation caused by frequent charge and discharge cycles are being addressed today by car makers through advancements in battery technology and management systems.

However, the future benefits of V2G charging are truly transformative. By leveraging the energy stored in EV batteries during peak demand periods, V2G systems can contribute to grid stability and reduce the need for costly infrastructure upgrade - holds true, whether we’re talking about your household or even the complete grid. This technology has the potential to turn EVs into mobile energy storage units, allowing them to serve as a valuable resource for balancing the grid and supporting renewable energy integration.

V2G charging also presents an exciting opportunity for EV owners to monetize their vehicle's battery capacity. Through participation in energy markets, owners can sell excess energy back to the grid, potentially offsetting the cost of vehicle ownership and charging. As an energy provider here at Enefit, we can enable and facilitate this for electric car owners.

Moreover, V2G charging systems can enhance energy resilience during emergencies or power outages. In situations where the grid is compromised, EVs equipped with V2G capabilities can provide backup power to homes, businesses, or critical infrastructure. This capability not only increases the reliability of the energy system but also contributes to community resilience and disaster recovery efforts.

As the technology continues to evolve, future advancements in V2G charging systems may include improved vehicle-to-grid communication, enhanced battery performance and longevity, and the integration of artificial intelligence to optimize charging and discharging operations. Continued research and development in these areas will pave the way for a more sustainable and efficient energy system powered by electric vehicles.

The Future is Near

The future of electric car smart charging holds tremendous potential for revolutionizing the energy system and promoting the adoption of renewable energy. By implementing flexible charging strategies, EVs can play a vital role in reducing overall energy system costs, increasing renewable energy capacity, and lowering CO2 emissions.

Smart charging systems, combined with bidirectional charging capabilities, enable EVs to become an integral part of a complete energy system that maximizes the use of renewable energy sources.

Join us on the journey already today, when picking out your charging provider for your household by looking into our solutions here: