“Grid code is the keyword,” says Florian Kienzle – Director DACH at Zaptec – for V2X to become broad reality
If you wonder what smart charging really means and why we need it, this is your interview. Dr Kienzle holds a PhD from ETH Zurich on “multi-carrier energy systems” and now acts as Director for the entire DACH region at the Norwegian company, driving smart charging forward, fast.
His forecast – V2H is no more than five years away, and he knows exactly what it takes. To be precise, Kienzle says vehicle-to-home will be “a normal part” of EV life “relatively soon”, given that we tend to “overestimate what we can do in the short-term and underestimate what we can do in the medium-term”. The 3 – 5 years is the time it will take “until we see broad application in the market”.
Zaptec will make sure to be part of that drive. The company, with headquarters in Stavanger, is a startup yet with a seasoned management team. So far, Zaptec has launched three EV chargers, all developed and manufactured in Norway. The Zaptec Go, Pro, and Sense chargers received awards for their sleek look and innovative design. Moreover, they all offer the latest intelligent (and harmonised) features like Plug&Play for public applications of the Pro. The newest wall box called Sense is optimised for future V2H integration.
Here Florian Kienzle has concrete examples, such as high energy demand in the building leading to momentary reduced charging power. Plus, “as soon as solar power comes into play, we can charge with solar surplus and, in turn, supply energy (to the house) when there is no solar power from the roof.”
Naturally, Zaptec considers electric vehicles “batteries on wheels” that will eventually be capable of balancing the grid. The CEO of Zaptec Switzerland knows all about this. He is a former energy supply specialist at the Swiss Federal Office of Energy and led new grid solutions at EWZ, a utility in Zurich. Reflecting on these experiences, he says, “The main challenge we saw were EVs, especially if they charge in a ‘dumb way’ – it is the number one challenge for the grid”.
Zaptec is here to help avoid the overload. The company recently patented its smart charging technology, specifically its dynamic phase balancing. It is crucial for large applications that charge multiple electric vehicles simultaneously.
Going back to intelligent charging in the broader sense, the executive calls the required integration between “the car world, the grid world, and the charging manufacturer world” is a “must-have” with the charge point as a go-between. He says Zaptec chargers “can speak to the car and the grid on the other side” already, yet there remains work to do in sector coupling.
“Grid code is the keyword,” says Kienzle, and explains these are different in every country, posing another challenge for any manufacturer delivering charging stations internationally.
“Technically, it is not an issue,” adds Kienzle, “we have the communication in place, we have the charger as a hardware working bidirectionally – it is really the worlds and the people in these worlds that have to speak to each other and define common rules.” But, as soon as a standardised interface comes together “it will work, hopefully at a broad scale.”
Interview by Carla Westerheide at Power2Drive, Munich.
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