Society is struggling with inflation and rising costs. But the economic crisis also drives technological development – with some potential benefits for companies and individuals.
Recently, the Swedish newspaper NyTeknik published an interview with Göran Näslund, Strategic Segment Manager at Telenor Connexion. He explains how and why the electric car and IoT will be a prerequisite for solving electricity and power needs in the future.
Sales of electric cars and other electrified vehicles are constantly increasing. As more and more people buy battery-powered cars, the public charging infrastructure lags behind, and concern grows that the grid will be overloaded. But instead of considering electric cars as a problem for the electricity supply, one should rather see them as a solution.
“Since there are currently limited opportunities to store electricity, the electricity grid needs to constantly balance production and consumption. Here, electric cars will be able to play an important role in the future. Today, car charging can be controlled at times when electricity demand is lowest, usually at night, which gives lower cost for the user but also for the electricity system in general. What is happening now is a further development of this where the electric car and its battery will form a smart component of the grid. During periods when the power requirement is greater than the supply, the charge can be stopped and thus release power. If necessary, the car could also supply the grid with electricity for shorter periods when the need is greater than the supply. The car thus consumes when the supply is high and supplies the grid with electricity by “sending back” if necessary,” says Göran.
The tools to avoid overloading already exist to some extent. Göran says in the future car owners can become more involved and constitute a more active component in the electricity grid. They can let electricity companies or other actors go in and turn off the charging at different times, cut the load peaks, and get the car’s battery to contribute power when needed. Business models and pilot tests already exist on a smaller scale.
“We’re talking small individual parts, but the sum makes it a significant part for the grid. The first step is that you can turn off and stop charging for shorter periods when there is a high load. The next step is to be able to use energy and power in the car’s battery when needed. You can bring electricity back to the grid in the form of energy or power when the grid has a load stop. There, development work is underway for the technology and standards, but a smaller number of cars already support it today.”
The interesting thing is that instead of becoming a problem for the electricity grid, the electric car can become one of the components that makes sure it works. Göran Näslund, Strategic Segment Manager at Telenor Connexion
A central part of the development is that the entire ecosystem of users, production, electricity distribution, trade, chargers, operators, vehicles, and systems are integrated and have an opportunity for information exchange in real-time. There, IoT plays a critical role by ensuring that the different components have access to communication at every opportunity and every location. A large amount of data needs to be exchanged for this to work. Already, IoT is an important component for smart grids, charging infrastructure, connected cars, and electricity production.
“The interesting thing is that instead of becoming a problem for the electricity grid, the electric car can become one of the components that makes sure it works. Many pieces are in place, and more are in the pipeline. The vehicles, as well as the charging boxes, must be equipped with technology that can handle this, and that is happening. The business models are increasingly in place so that it becomes easy to participate and receive compensation for it. It will be a win-win for all parties. Energy companies do not have to invest in expensive forms of energy, we reduce the import of electricity, and anyone who has a car can make money from it. There are no losers in this, only winners,” Göran concludes.
The interview in Swedish can be found here.