Our final session in the EV Awareness Café series was a focus on Smart Energy. This is best explained as how energy is generated, and then consumed and then potentially re-fed back your energy network either at home, at work or to the grid.
There are a lot of parts to this. It starts though by knowing that National Grid project that there will be 36M EVs on the UK roads by 2040.
The centre of the plan to sustain this mobility is the vehicle itself. So, start to imagine the car as a mobile battery – that charges at an off-peak time and discharges at a peak time.
Smart charging for EVs means that through your phone you can schedule when your car should be charged, for what length of time or to cover how many miles. If you need to cover a specific distance, then the smart charger will receive that instruction and charge the vehicle exactly to what you schedule.
The fact that a vehicle is being charged at an off-peak time, such as during the night, means that there is less of a pull-on fossil fuel power plants being used to supply the electricity. If the motive for EV is also environmentally, then charging smartly can help in this. There are also large cost savings to be made.
After charging comes discharging – through bi-directional chargers. Some manufacturers have dedicated bi-directional chargers, whilst some are developing software that bolt onto existing chargers. That electricity, being discharged at peak time, goes into the home (V2H), buildings (V2B) or grid (V2G).
The session also touched on the use of large batteries, like a Tesla Powerwall, to store electricity and distribute it later.
So, in summary, the future (happening now) will all be around how electricity is generated, stored and distributed – with the electric vehicle being right at the heart of the action.