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Trial shows EVs can be used to support power grid

That’s the conclusion of the INEES (Intelligent integration of electric vehicles into the power grid for the provision of system services) research project, following a one-year trial.

The project, which comprises partners Volkswagen AG, green energy provider Lichtblick SE, SMA Solar Technology AG and the Fraunhofer Institute Wind Energy and Energy System Technology, researched the issue of power fluctuations caused by the increasing use of flexible local energy units such as photovoltaic systems and combined heat and power plants, which often dependent on different factors such as sunlight or wind levels.

INEES, which ran from 1 June 2012 to 31 December 2015, included a one-year fleet trial to see if an electric vehicle pool could be used to balance fluctuations.

The trial used a bi-directional DC-charging station from SMA Solar Technology AG and 20 Volkswagen e-up! vehicles equipped with a bi-directional charging function and a communication link between the charge controller and the Volkswagen backend computer centre, with drivers given a mobile phone app as an interface.

Drivers allowed their vehicle battery to be used to support the power grid whilst basically experiencing no restrictions to their everyday mobility, and were also given incentives through a bonus scheme.

The research determined that electric vehicles can provide a safe and secure power reserve for the power grid with a short reaction time.

The project, which has now submitted its final report, added that such a set-up is not economically viable under current conditions but said this could change in the future due to planned legislative changes, further technical developments and the transformation of the energy system.

Natalie Middleton

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