The Dutch town of Utrecht reportedly turned into a demonstrator for electric car-sharing and bi-directional charging this summer. The German start-up Sono Motors says it will be joining the real-life testing with 100 Sion solar EVs in Utrecht.
Meeting Sono Motors in Utrecht are other partners such as Hyundai, Renault, and We Drive Solar, a consortium founded in 2015. We Drive Solar comprises actors like ElaadNL, Last Mile Solutions, Nieuwe Weme, Siers, Stedin, Utrecht Sustainability Institute, Koolen Industries, GoodMoovs and the city of Utrecht.
And now, Sono. The company’s Sion, which it calls the world’s first series solar electric vehicle, is already V2G-ready through its battery and solar technology that naturally combines with a bidirectional charging system.
Robin Berg, Director of We Drive Solar, therefore considers Sono “the perfect partner for this venture as they already incorporate the use of solar energy, sharing and bidirectional charging into their product offering.”
What is more, Sono Motors, just this September, had announced to strengthen its “community car-sharing” to include all kinds of electric vehicles, not only the Sion. “Our goal is to become the largest car-sharing platform without owning a single vehicle,” Laurin Hahn, CEO and co-founder of Sono Motors, said at the time.
Utrecht, therefore, seems like a good warm-up and itself a unique opportunity. The city already has 500 bidirectional charging stations, which will connect with the planned carsharing fleet of 150 electric cars capable of charging bidirectionally beginning in 2022. In today’s statement, the city stressed this was the first project of this scale in the world, with said 500 V2G chargers already available to the public.
For Sono Motors, the cars will be charged using green energy from the network on top of the energy produced via the integrated solar panels and the energy stored in the new 54-kWh battery. For delivering excess energy back into the grid, the Sion has a discharging power of 11 kW, and the company says the 1.1-megawatt peak power provided by the 100 Sion is equivalent to that created by a large PV plant the size of about two football fields.
The new partners have yet to confirm the timeline, though. Earlier communications saw the Utrecht project kick-off next year. However, Sono Motors aims to launch the Sion solar EV only in 2023, at least to the public.
For Utrecht, in any case, the project is just the start. We Drive Solar, already when announcing the initiative in April, said it would develop this project on a larger scale in further cities and businesses in the Netherlands and other European countries.
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