Bidirectional charging — whereby electric vehicles and other machines can feed unused energy back into a home or into the grid — has great potential when it comes to allowing for the efficient use of energy amidst mounting concerns over climate change.
Now, Utrecht, the Netherlands' fourth-largest city, is aiming to become the first city in the world with a bidirectional ecosystem, according to a report by The Next Web. The city has announced it will use vehicle-to-grid charging (V2G) combined with car-sharing and solar electric vehicles (SEVs).
Utrecht has partnered with We Drive Solar, Hyundai, and Sono Motors to receive a fleet of SEVs in order to complement its bidirectional ecosystem. Sono Motors, a Munich-based startup announced it will provide 100 Sion solar cars as part of its agreement with the city of Utrecht. The vehicles will be able to collect solar energy before either using that power to drive or feeding it back into the grid through its 54kWh batteries. The Sion has the energy capacity to deliver up to 11kW back into the grid or to other vehicles or homes via bidirectional charging.
A new way for EVs to support the transition away from fossil fuels
In a press statement, Jona Christians, CEO and co-founder of Sono Motors said "this is the perfect project for Sono Motors to further our vision of a world free from fossil fuels as it is a clear demonstration that electric vehicles can support the transition of the energy sector as a whole." The company claims that 100 Sions will be able to provide a combined 1.1-megawatt peak power to the city of Utrecht via bidirectional charging. Sono Motors claims this is the equivalent to the power that would be produced by a solar farm the size of two football fields.
The Sion car fleet will become part of We Drive Solar's car-sharing system, which also aims to have approximately 150 bidirectional charging Hyundai Ioniq 5s at its disposal by 2022. The city of Utrecht's new plan is aimed at reducing grid instabilities and the likelihood of blackouts as electricity demands surge in the coming years. As part of its plans, it will make 500 bidirectional charging stations available to the public. The bidirectional charging and car-sharing experiment points towards a future in which cars and energy are shared as part of a free-flowing system with less congested roads and a vastly more efficient use of power.