The Dutch government states that a more stable electric grid, better use of renewable energy, and making money with your battery electric car (BEV) are the reasons it is promoting the use of smart chargers, which are able to invert the flow of the current to go from the car battery back into the grid.
Screenshot of Fully Charged video.
After some smaller pilot projects, there is now a larger experiment. A subsidy of €5 million is being made available to support 472 smart chargers on charging plazas in 21 Dutch cities.
According to the Dutch Assistant Secretary of Transport, electric driving will be the new normal. If anybody on this site agrees with this opinion, don’t mention it. To make that future a reality, not only are more public chargers needed, but above all, more smart chargers. For the above stated reasons, the subsidy is to accelerate the installation of smart chargers. Charging your car should be as convenient as charging your smartphone, after all.
Of course, the whole capacity of a car’s battery won’t be available as a buffer for the grid. The owner/driver can set the amount of electricity the grid can borrow and what minimum charge the car should have. With only 472 cars connected to the grid, it is not the size of the reserve capacity that matters, but the speed with which it can react to fluctuations in the grid. When we have a hundred times as many smart public chargers, that’s when capacity becomes relevant.
The drivers that have cars capable of V2G, and enable them for this, can expect a lower bill or even a payment from the grid operator. It is a way to make money with your car without deploying it as a robotaxi. I think this is an attractive idea.
With only a handful of smart chargers, this project is focused on developing the technology among a broader part of the administrations responsible for the grid and charging infrastructure. Scaling a new technology from laboratory to high volume mass adoption is only possible in small increments. It is a good sign that this second step in the scaling process is now being made.
The city of Utrecht, for example, already a pioneer in these developments, will use the money to create 20 charging plazas. It expects 12,000 BEVs in the city next year, and thinks it will need about 1,600 public chargers. If these initial 20 plazas are as good as they are expected to be, many more will follow.
Another approach is combining these charging plazas with carsharing projects. The carsharing vehicles will be the (mobile) batteries of a virtual power plant. This kind of government involvement is possibly more important than large incentives for buying BEVs.