Audi tests grid-optimised charging

Audi tests grid-optimised charging


With more and more electric cars on our roads that will then need to charge, both governments and private companies are thinking about the strain that will put on electrical grids. To combat this, Audi is testing delayed dynamic charging to relieve the grid at times of high demand. 

As part of a research project, Audi collaborated with GISA and other partners to simulate an overload scenario in a local power grid. This simulation featured multiple electric cars charging simultaneously on a street supplied by a local network transformer. The goal was to find a solution that prevented the chance of a network overload, which could lead to localised blackouts.

Grid-optimised charging is designed to counteract this scenario through the intelligent management of charging procedures to prevent a grid overload. It works much in the same way as a smart charger might optimise a car’s charge to make the most of a reduced overnight rate. 

This new form of dynamic charging is achieved through targeted communication between the electric car and the grid operator. In practice, it will mean delayed charging, taking into account the desired time of departure and the actual load in the power grid. 

This could be a win-win situation for grid operators and owners of electric vehicles. The electric car uses downtime to charge to 100%, while also relieving the power grid. This is made possible by new modules in the domestic power grid that allow the house, the electric car, and the power grid to speak the same language.

In the medium term, the new networking technology will allow the charging capacity, charging time, and charging duration to be controlled for each car. When combined with vehicle-to-grid (V2G) projects, this could mean electric cars are selling their power back to the grid at times of high demand. Or a car could act as energy storage to power a home that runs on solar or wind power — sources with inconsistent availability. 

This is the next step in the wide-scale adoption of battery electric vehicles and will help make the transition as easy as possible.