Several electric automakers are also venturing into the energy generation aspect of charging electric vehicles. Tesla is leading the charge after its acquisition of SolarCity.
Now several other automakers are getting on board and Audi is partnering with SMA Solar Technology to have ‘intelligent charging functions’ optimized for solar in the upcoming e-tron quattro electric SUV.
Audi says that its connected charging system will be able to have “intelligent interactions with home energy management systems from SMA Solar Technology and the Hager Group” which will “enable cost-optimized charging – including using sustainable photovoltaic power if desired.”
Fermin Soneira, Head of Product Marketing at Audi, explained:
“In keeping with our premium quality standards, we want an electric car that fits seamlessly into the intelligently connected home, to provide genuine added value for the customer. That is why we have teamed up with the two leading suppliers of home energy management systems, the Hager Group and SMA Solar Technology. That brings maximum charging convenience,”
They described some of the features of the system in a press release:
- Cost and CO2-optimized charging: With the connect charging system and a suitably equipped HEMS, the customer can use variable electricity tariffs to charge the Audi e-tron. This system can charge the battery when electricity is less expensive while simultaneously considering individual mobility requirements, such as departure time and charge level. The connect charging system gets the necessary rate information either from the HEMS or from information the customer enters into the myAudi portal. If the home is equipped with a photovoltaic system, the customer can optimize the charging process to prefer the electricity generated by the system for charging the Audi e-tron. The electric SUV does this by considering forecast phases of sunshine and the current flow of electricity at the home’s connection point to the public grid.
- Blackout protection The intelligent charging function also protects the customer in the event of a blackout. The customer always charges with the maximum available capacity that the home electrical system and the car allow. The charging system also considers the power requirements of other consumers to avoid overloading the home electrical system and thus tripping the master breaker. The customer can check their individual charging statistics and charging progress in the myAudi portal and myAudi app. Besides charging times and the amount of electricity charged, the system also provides detailed information about the corresponding costs. This data is stored on a secured server, and the portal offers both analysis and export functions.
This space, which I would describe as “intelligent charging”, is kind of all over the place right now. It’s an emerging segment with products like Sonnen’s new charger, Nissan’s charging ecosystem, and more.
It will be interesting to see what will become a standard, but I think it’s inevitably going to be a large part of the electric car revolution.
A recent study showed that electric vehicle fleets could save billions with controllable load and vehicle-to-grid features.
That’s value that can be somewhat easily unlocked as the EV fleet grows.
We will have a much better idea of what programs are going to be successful in the next few years as new EVs, like the Audi e-tron quattro, come to market.