tiko takes part to “V2X Suisse” trial involving bidirectional electric vehicle charging
As part of the “V2X Suisse” project, along with six other companies, tiko is participating to an innovative approach to stabilizing power grids through the medium of electric vehicles (EVs). Going forward, the idea is that Mobility EVs should be able to provide bidirectional charging – in other words, they will be able to feed energy back into the grid when not being driven. This first large-scale trial of its kind will help determine the future of this technology in Switzerland and beyond.
Electric vehicles are the future – this is also the view of car sharing provider Mobility: by 2030 at the latest, its entire fleet of 3000 vehicles will be electric. What is good for the environment can bring challenges in electricity consumption and grid stability.
The recently launched V2X Suisse project is looking to find solutions through resource pooling, in which tiko will play the role of aggregator. Mobility providers (Mobility), car provider (Honda R&D Europe and Honda Motor Europe), software developers (sun2wheel), charging point developers (EVTEC), flexibility buyers and the scientific community (novatlantis in cooperation with ETH) are working hand-in-hand with tiko. “By working together, we will waste no time in making bidirectional EV charging a reality and thus gain much-needed insights,” explains Marco Piffaretti, V2X Suisse project manager and electromobility expert at Mobility. He is alluding to the fact that Switzerland currently has very little practical experience when it comes to the technical, regulatory and organizational challenges of bidirectional charging. Frédéric Gastaldo, CEO of tiko, adds: “Since its foundation in 2012, tiko has pursued the approach of interconnecting decentralized power devices and batteries and using them to stabilize the grids. V2X technology is therefore nothing radically new for us. However, the sheer number of electric cars, together with electricity-based heating, will catapult our business model into other spheres.” The project is supported by the pilot and demonstration program of the Swiss Federal Office of Energy (SFOE).
Trial involving Mobility electric vehicles
The collective preparations will run until September 2022, after which 50 Honda e EVs will be deployed for a year at around 40 Mobility stations across Switzerland. This will be the first time that bidirectional EV charging is used across the board in people’s everyday mobility, allowing it to be tested in different settings, from rural to urban. The prospects look promising: a Mobility EV plugged into a bidirectional charging station can feed up to 20 kilowatts of power back into the grid. This would amount to 60 megawatts across Mobility’s entire car-sharing fleet – more than the Peccia pumped-storage power plant in Ticino, for example. This electrical regulating power will help stabilize the grid, minimize bottlenecks in the distribution grid, and avoid, reduce or delay the need for expensive grid expansions. V2X Suisse will be setting a worldwide first by deploying the CCS combined charging system, the international plug standard for direct current (also used for fast charging).
V2X Suisse is setting itself a high benchmark until the project is completed at the end of 2023: firstly, it will be exploring how this technology can help stabilize the electricity grid and how charging points with photovoltaic arrays can optimize their self-consumption. Secondly, it will be aiming to investigate the business potential of bidirectional charging electric vehicles in Switzerland. And thirdly, it will test the competition between the potential flexibility buyers (Swissgrid, distribution grid operators, and self-consumption associations).