If you’re worried about your electric vehicle overloading the electric grid, don’t. At least, if Audi is involved. The German automaker is taking a page out of Tesla’s book and piloting a new project called the Audi Smart Energy Network. The test combines automobile, home, and power supply in order to from an intelligent energy network. In essence, the program will involve stationary storage batteries with solar installations of various sizes. Software will then allocate the solar energy as needed by either the home or the vehicle.
But the real magic happens when this connected home power storage system provides “balancing power.” As Audi explains, these various devices “balance out the fluctuations between power generation and consumption, and stabilize the grid frequency by temporarily storing smaller amounts of energy in stationary units at short notice.” This leads to optimized power consumption, where renewable sources provide a greater proportion of energy, and the power grid provides less.
But this isn’t to say that there’s no involvement from the power grid. As Audi noted, “Over a built-in communication interface, all systems are interconnected to form a virtual power plant, and constitute a smart grid.”
The carmaker hopes that this is just the first step in creating an emission-free mobility solution; one that does not only take cars into consideration.
“We are looking at electric mobility in the context of an overall energy supply system that is increasingly based on renewables. We are playing a pioneering role with the prequalification of the balancing-power market — enabling producers to feed power into the grid, as part of the pilot project,” said Dr. Hagen Seifert, Head of Sustainable Product Concepts at Audi. “That is now for the first time also possible down at the level of individual households, which helps balance the entire power grid.”
Of course, Audi isn’t the only company looking into energy storage systems. Tesla has its own Tesla Energy division that involves solar panels and Powerpack energy storage batteries, while BMW has its own energy storage project that features mounted i3 battery packs on the walls of homes. Mercedes-Benz also leverages its own electric Smart car battery packs for an energy storage facility, and now that Audi is in the mix as well, we may be well on our way to a more renewable, EV-laden future.