Proving the Business Case for the Internet of Things

Audi pilot forms intelligent energy network

Steve Rogerson
January 31, 2018

German car maker Audi is running a pilot project with households in the Ingolstadt area and the Zurich region combining various sizes of photovoltaic systems with stationary storage batteries. The goal is to see vehicle, home and power supply combined to form an intelligent energy network.
The control software by Zurich start-up company Ampard distributes the solar power intelligently based on the current or plannable demand from car, household and heating system. A feature of the pilot project is that it also interacts with the power grid. Over a built-in communications interface, all systems are interconnected to form a virtual power plant, and constitute a smart grid.
The connected home storage devices can provide what is known as balancing power. In other words, they balance out the fluctuations between power generation and consumption, and stabilise the grid frequency by temporarily storing smaller amounts of energy in stationary units at short notice. This optimises internal consumption: operators of photovoltaic systems increase their proportion of own-use solar power while cutting their power procurement costs.
“We are looking at electric mobility in the context of an overall energy supply system that is increasingly based on renewables,” said Hagen Seifert, head of sustainable product concepts at Audi. “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. That is now for the first time also possible down at the level of individual households, which helps balance the entire power grid.”
As part of its quest for emission-free premium mobility, Audi is also looking at services that extend beyond the automobile as a product. One aspect is the interrelationship between all those areas of life where the car meshes seamlessly with a connected environment. There is particular focus on services that involve interaction between car and environment.