VW’s Elli & Elia Group look into integration of EVs into grids


Volkswagen subsidiary Elli, which manages all charging and energy-related activities for the group in Europe, electricity grid operator Elia Group and its start-up re.alto are cooperating to look into integrating electric vehicles as mobile power banks to stabilise electricity grids.

Over the next few years, the partners want to identify possible core elements in integrating electric vehicles into grid systems and investigate what benefits this will bring for users and the energy system, for example, within the framework of joint pilot projects. According to Volkswagen, these include price signals/incentives, market design, data origin/security and secure connectivity, which are part of the Memorandum of Understanding signed in Berlin on Friday. So far, the partners have not given a concrete time plan for their undertakings.

The three partners see “great opportunities to counteract climate change in the coming decade” for the increasing number of electric cars despite the rising demand for energy that this will bring. The project partners say that, with their storage capacity, electric cars could contribute to grid stability while grids are set to see growing share of intermittent renewable energy generation.

The three partners say that their main aim is to ensure the stability of electricity grids. In the case of incentives, for example, the partners will investigate how price signals can motivate the owners of electric vehicle owners to use their vehicles as decentralised storage capacities and thus support the electricity system while also increasing demand. Other hurdles relate to market design so that consumers are free to choose their energy supplier regardless of their destination. Volkswagen points out that, for example, is currently impossible for electric vehicle fleet operators and consumers at charging points to choose their utility or smart-charging service provider.

In all the projects, the partners underline that it must also be ensured that the data from electric vehicles is recognised as reliable and secure and that the data transfer is also secure. This technology is, coincidentally, the purpose of Plug&Charge capability with ISO 15118 currently being extensively introduced by Hubject. These capabilities can be enabled on the side of both vehicle manufacturers and charging station manufacturers with the respective technology.

Each of the partners is to contribute their respective expertise in accordance with the approved fields of investigation. Here, Elli has experience with charging infrastructure and with charging infrastructure and mobility services. The Elia Group’s expertise lies in the electricity grid and the energy transition. The startup re.alte, founded by Elia in 2019, has in-depth knowledge of digital marketplaces and connecting energy data with digital products via app-based interfaces.

“An essential key to achieving climate neutrality lies in linking of the energy and mobility sectors,” says Elli CEO Elke Temme, CEO of Elli (Volkswagen Group Charging GmbH) and Senior Vice President of Charging & Energy at Volkswagen AG. She extrapolated that she sees three main benefits of electric vehicle owners using their vehicle batteries as a mobile power bank: “Firstly, the climate benefits as renewable energy can be stored and therefore be used more efficiently; secondly, the electric grid benefits, as the car can contribute toward grid stability, and thirdly, the customer can earn additional revenue with vehicle-to-grid services. To explore the benefits of this consumer-centric approach, this cooperation with Elia Group is crucial for us.”

Chris Peeters, CEO of Elia Group, says: “The rapid rise in electric vehicles is reinforcing the need for cooperation between the electricity and mobility sectors. We want to enable the increasing number of EV users to charge their EVs while keeping the electricity system in balance. As a next step, the batteries of these cars will also be able to be used in such a way that they will contribute to the overall levels of energy comfort experienced by end users. Elli shares the same vision of the future regarding electric mobility as us and also has a strong focus on digital innovations. In the context of sector convergence, we are therefore the ideal partners to develop digital consumer services together.”

The issue of the increasing demand on grids and the energy available for private mobility, commercial vehicles, fleet operators or public transport operators was not mentioned in the partners’ investigations.


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