Volkswagen's new partnership will develop vehicle-to-grid energy storage

The companies aim to tackle climate change.
Loukia Papadopoulos
EVs could give back to the power grid.jpg
EVs could give back to the power grid. 

Volkswagen’s charging unit Elli and re.alto, a startup owned by Brussels-based Elia, signed a memorandum of understanding on Friday to collaborate on ways to integrate EVs into the electricity system in order to fight global warming.

A route to abating climate change

“The wide-spread adoption of EVs will be one of society’s fastest and most effective routes to abating climate change in the coming decade. Additionally, EV batteries will be able to contribute to keeping the grid in balance as the share of renewables in the energy mix increases. This can only occur if consumers are encouraged to valorize their flexibility, aligning their charging behavior with the availability of affordable green energy,” said the statement.

“Consumers will then become active players in the energy transition. Over the next few years, the MoU’s signatories will identify possible barriers to EV integration and explore how to showcase its benefits, for example by developing demonstrators.”

The multiyear partnership will also investigate how powering the grid with EV batteries can help stabilize electricity costs and reduce energy prices.

The new vehicle-to-grid concept will enable users to inject the electricity stored in their EV battery back into the grid, drawing energy from it only when necessary.

Volkswagen's new partnership will develop vehicle-to-grid energy storage
An electric Volkswagen Golf charging.

“The rapid rise in electric vehicles is reinforcing the need for cooperation between the electricity and mobility sectors,” Elia Group CEO Chris Peeters said in the statement. “We want to enable the increasing number of EV users to charge their EVs while keeping the electricity system in balance.

The memorandum of understanding includes four pillars of exploration: price signals/incentives; market design, trusted data, and data security and safe connectivity. The MoU is further closely aligned with Elia Group’s focus on consumer centricity and Volkswagen Group’s commitment to accelerating the shift to sustainable electric mobility.

Selling out

In May 2022, it was reported that Volkswagen, the world’s second-largest electric vehicle manufacturer, had "sold out" all of its battery-electric vehicles in the United States and Europe for 2022.

Volkswagen has sold more than 99,000 electric models from its various brands, such as Porsche, Audi, and Škoda, in the first quarter of 2022.

But its production was hit by a shortage of semiconductors and wiring harnesses, as the components were made in Ukraine, and their production was halted due to war.

Volkswagen Chairman of the Board of Management Herbert Diess said at the time: “We are basically sold out on electric vehicles in Europe and in the United States. And in China, it’s really picking up.”

Diess added that the company's order backlog in western Europe was at 300,000 electric vehicles and that customers now placing orders in Europe and the US would not get their electric models delivered before 2023. He also said that he expects orders to increase.

“We have very high order books and . . . order intake on electric vehicles,” Diess added. “That accounts for all of our models from ID.3, ID.4, the Audi models are extremely well received in the markets, and Škoda models are also very well received in Europe.”