Smart control increases the capacity of electric vehicle charging
Through the three-year ChargeFlex project, eSmart Systems and its project partners have proven that existing infrastructure and capacity are better exploited with new technology.
“New technology creates jobs, while exploiting resources and capacity is good for sustainability purposes”, says Knut Johansen, CEO at eSmart Systems, after the conclusion of the company’s cornerstone project, ChargeFlex.
The project was launched in 2015 and eight competent partners have been collaborating for the past three years to achieve its objectives. Its primary purpose was to reduce the need for expansion of the power grid, which otherwise is a traditional approach to cater the charging needs of the ever-increasing electric vehicle (EV) in the market.
Instead of expanding the grid, the idea was to exploit the flexibility of the available capacity in existing grids in an efficient and reliable way. The main goal was to increase such capacity by 25 percent.
“The research shows that all charging control provides increased capacity, and that smart control increases the capacity by as much as 43 percent. This is an important result”, says Johansen.
The pilot testing was conducted at the EV charging station by the offices of eSmart Systems and Smart Innovation Norway in Halden. A great deal of work was to develop a prediction framework, not just for EV charging, but also for solar production and weather.
“The development with predictions to foresee charging needs and power consumption are important results as well. Both have been introduced to the market through the solutions we offer today”, states Johansen of eSmart Systems.
Cheaper EV charging
The project’s ambition has been to commercialize the results from the project through a software solution which provides better exploitation of the grid – to increase the charging capacity for EVs – which will make charging more available and cheaper for the end-users.
“By expanding the charging capacity without investing in the current infrastructure, electricity providers can put up more charging points and offer better charging opportunities. This means that the end-users can charge their electric cars at home knowing that the electricity bill will not be higher than necessary. The car charges when the price is at its lowest. This is possible thanks to ChargeFlex, explains Tina Skagen, project manager and Director of Business Development at eSmart Systems.
“Extremely useful learning”
The project results are exploited and integrated in the eSmart Systems product Connected Prosumer, a software which provides an overview and the possibility of controlling energy resources with the help of predictive algorithm. The purpose is to optimize their utilization.
“ChargeFlex has been a cornerstone project at eSmart Systems for the past three years. It has been the fundament on which we have built Connected Prosumer, and has largely contributed to giving us the customers and market entry that we have today”, says Skagen.
She is clear on the fact that the competence the partners have acquired while working on the project, is valuable in several ways:
“It contributes to to better understanding of the need for developing services related to EV charging. In addition, it also contributes to further exploitation of the existing services. It is extremely useful learning for stakeholders on different levels in the value chain of electric cars, charging and energy, and to the world – in a sustainability perspective”, Skagen emphasizes.