Proving the Business Case for the Internet of Things

Utrecht to test smart solar charging for electric vehicles

Steve Rogerson
April 4, 2016

The Dutch city of Utrecht is set to be the testing ground for a solar smart-charge project following an agreement signed between French car maker Renault and its Dutch economic partners Utrecht City Council, Elaad NL and Lombo Xnet.
Renault plans to supply a fleet of 150 Zoe cars by 2017 to the city. Elaad NL will handle management of infrastructures and the smart-charge standard, and LomboXnet is taking charge of installing the network of public charging terminals powered by a 44kW grid connection. Grid operator Stedin will be involved to balance supply and demand of the grid.
Phase one of the project involves setting up 1000 smart solar-charge stations, powered by 10,000 photovoltaic panels in the Utrecht region. Infrastructure installation will run side by side with the development of a car-share service of electric cars, powered by renewable energy, for Utrecht residents. The Renault Zoe R.Access connectivity and 22kW charging make it suitable for car-share and smart charging applications.
Phase two of the project will see the partners developing a vehicle-to-grid ecosystem, with the network of solar chargers capable of both charging the electric cars and of feeding energy stored in the batteries of parked cars onto the grid to meet demand peaks. This could be the starting point for a new system storing renewably sourced energy.
One of the goals of the project is to make a contribution to reducing the carbon footprint not only of the automotive industry but of all sectors consuming electricity.
Elaad NL researches and tests the possibilities for smart charging on behalf of the Dutch grid operators. With innovative techniques, Elaad NL can charge electric cars in a smart way, exactly at the right moment.
In June 2015, Lombo Xnet introduced in Utrecht a charging station making smart solar charging accessible worldwide. This charging station can charge and discharge, establishing the foundation for a new local energy system based on local energy sources and local storage. The charging station was developed by a consortium of GE, Stedin, Vidyn, Last Mile and Utrecht Municipality and led by Lombo Xnet.
By implementing the vehicle-to-grid project on a regional scale, the region of Utrecht will create a large living lab for innovative smart grid projects. This showcase can not only implement green power, but ensure clean air zero emissions in the city and region of Utrecht. Thus, Utrecht is making way for healthy urban living, not only to improve its position as the most competitive region of the EU (according to Eurostat) but also to inspire other metropolitan regions as well.
The signing ceremony to confirm the agreement was attended by Renault’s Laurens van den Acker, SVP for corporate design, and Guillaume Berthier, EV sales director, in the presence of the king and queen of the Netherlands, the Dutch minister of trade, Lilianne Ploumen, and the French Foreign Affairs Ministry’s secretary of state for European affairs, Harlem Désir.