Along with other partners, Hyundai and We Drive Solar are planning to test electric car-sharing in combination with bidirectional charging on a large scale in Utrecht, the Netherlands, starting this summer. The new Ioniq 5 will also be used for this purpose.
The plan is to have 150 shared and bidirectionally charging electric cars on the road in Utrecht from the beginning of 2022. The city and region around Utrecht are ideal for this kind of test since the city already has almost 500 bidirectional charging stations. The first one was set up two years ago and the network has been constantly expanded ever since.
The ambitions of the city and the consortium We Drive Solar, founded in 2015, go beyond this charging network. The company says Utrecht should become the first region in the world with a bidirectional ecosystem. Among other things, the initiators include hundreds of car-sharing electric cars and buffers for the large-scale use of solar and wind energy in the region. In this ecosystem, the batteries of shared electric cars are used to store sustainable energy on a large scale.
Hyundai is contractually on board with the project as of this week. The South Korean carmaker says they decided to launch its first car with bidirectional charging technology in Utrecht because of the city’s expertise and large charging network. Hyundai says that the Ioniq 5 will be widely deployed in the Utrecht region.
The We Drive Solar consortium has already been dedicated to developing solutions for mobility and energy systems for several years now. The consortium is made up of a variety of actors, and the Utrecht project will include collaboration with ElaadNL, Last Mile Solutions, Nieuwe Weme, Siers, Stedin, Utrecht Sustainability Institute, Koolen Industries, GoodMoovs and the city and region of Utrecht.