Honda and Moixa have teamed up to launch the first fruit of their pan-European cooperation. Smart chargers with vehicle-to-grid technology have been installed in London’s borough Islington and foretell a future of bi-directional charging via CCS.
For now, the project sees three smart charging stations located at the private parking space of Islington council with two more to come. Honda, together with its Swiss partner EVTec sign responsible for the station design. It is decidedly more compact than other V2G-capable charging stations and offers both ChaDeMo and CCS charging. The latter is a novelty as Honda claims that this will enable the first bi-directional charging capability via CCS, once the Honda E arrives this summer.
For the time being, however, Islington Council runs a fleet of five Nissan eNV200 electric vans for a 12-month trial period and staff alone. The EVs charge with ChaDeMo and are capable of pushing energy back into the grid at 10 kW.
When asked whether Honda is looking to get more active in the smart charging space, following Nissan’s lead, Jorgen Pluym, Project Leader of Energy Management at Honda Europe pointed out: “Honda sees it as an advantage to have experience in generators and considers itself as a technology company and not mobility firm alone.” We take that as a yes that is in line with the UK’s call for smart charging capability by 2021 at the latest.
Apart from Honda and EVTec for equipment, smart battery provider Moixa played a part in striking a deal with the North London authority. Islington Council aims to become net-zero carbon by 2030 and has “declared a climate emergency,” as Counsellor Rowena Champion stressed at the launch. She added that “decarbonisation is imperative” and so the smart charging trial runs along the priority “to make the greenest energy available,” both to the electric cars as well as the building.
Moixa’s AI-driven GridShare software here serves to “predict energy consumed in the Islington Town Hall and also when the EVs will likely get charged, while it monitors the electricity price and carbon content,” as Moixa CTO Chris Wright explains. He adds that the five EVs alone have big enough batteries “to address the entire baseload of the building and even balance out the adjoining concert hall” in a sort of “vehicle-to-party” approach.
Different from other Moixa installations, the Islington set-up does not include stationery batteries but utilises the EV batteries as mobile storage. The project thus serves to demonstrate that the company is “pushing into the vehicle space with Honda,” according to Wright. Honda is a leading shareholder of Moixa since May 2019 and has made the start-up an integral part of the carmaker’s smart charging strategy for electrifying its European sales.
And there is yet another perspective on the Islington trial, Moixa wants to show “fleet operators in a grid-constrained location like London” how smart charging can work. The potential at the company’s home-base alone is considered immense, with 4,844 council-managed vehicles in London alone, 90% of which are diesel. All of these will need to be switched to alternative drives in the coming years to meet the capital’s carbon emissions and air pollution targets.
>> Nora Manthey reporting from London.