Electric vehicles are synonymous with progress, be it technological, environmental, or societal. They will be one of the keys for renewable energies’ and electric system’s development thanks to smart charging.
The EDF group is convinced that electric mobility will thrive with smart and accessible to all charging solutions. That is why we made smart charging and the development of its infrastructures one of the strong point of our Electric Mobility Plan, launched in October 2018.
Moreover, EDF views smart charging as a true asset for electric vehicle’s users and for the electrical system, with an added bonus of being economic, which benefits all actors.
What’s smart charging?
Smart charging is a generic term for all technologies optimizing the charging or the energy discharging of an electric vehicle, by managing the charging power of the vehicle efficiently, flexibly and economically.
This word encompasses a sum of piloting functions, from the simplest to the most sophisticated in terms of benefits for users, the electricity network, and more generally the energy transition.
Piloting electric vehicles is currently done by controlling their charging time and speed, from the electrical network to the vehicle. This is called "V1G" because the electricity control is unidirectional, i.e. from the network to the vehicle.
The energy accumulated in electric vehicles’ batteries can also be used to restore a building’s or network’s when needed. This is called Vehicle To Grid (or "V2G") because the energy can go both ways. The vehicle therefore becomes a component of the electrical network.
The "V2G" technology, still new and very promising, is of interest to many players in the sector, including the EDF Group.
What makes charging smart?
Charging is viewed as smart when it starts interacting with and adapts to its electric environment: building consumption, local renewable energy production, and interactions with the electrical network needs. It is then necessary for the charging box and / or vehicle to be able to communicate and react to control commands. Indeed, many modes of control are possible, from the simple energy transfer on tariff signal (type peak hours / off-peak hours) to the dynamic control of the charge, or even energy loss.
What are smart charging’s challenges?
As a low-carbon energy company, operating a production fleet based on a 97% CO2-free energy mix in France(1), the EDF Group is convinced that sustainable mobility will be electric.
Through smart charging, the electric vehicle will quickly become an important means of flexibility and even a reserve of energy. Since a vehicle spends the majority of its time parked, the charge operator can trigger the charge of electric vehicles (during solar or wind production surplus, for example) or possibly decide to draw the electricity needed from the batteries to meet the high demands of the power system (early evening at peak consumption for example) or to overcome a shortage of production (when the weather don’t allow for exploitation of renewable energy).
With smart charging, electro mobility becomes a real opportunity for the development of renewable energies, the electrical system and the owner of an electric vehicle.
(1) Excluding life cycle analysis of the means of production and fuels - Scope: EDF - Production and marketing activities, excluding Corsica and Overseas. Source: Financial and non-financial performance indicators, EDF 2018.
Create a global ecosystem, a necessity for the EDF Group
The development prospects of the electric vehicle, with all its components, are motivating. And especially smart charging, which opens up very innovative perspectives.
They will require the mobilization of an ecosystem allowing all players in the sector (energy producers, aggregators, car manufacturers, charging box manufacturers, etc.) to move forward on the subject together. The rise of electro mobility will be partnership-based and will involve combining complementary skills to offer the best solutions to customers.
EDF takes smart charging and Vehicle to Grid further by creating Dreev
The EDF group announced the launch of our subsidiary Dreev, a co-company created by EDF Pulse Expansion [lien vers le site] and the Californian start-up Nuvve [lien vers le site], during the 32nd Electrical Vehicle Symposium on May 19th to 22nd 2019 in Lyon. This subsidiary is a tangible proof of our commitment to smart charging and “V2G” technology. The core business of this new subsidiary is the development of "V2G" solutions, which is the most innovative and promising aspect of smart charging. The technology proposed by Dreev, and developed by the start-up Nuvve, has already proven itself around the world. Dreev is already in contact with corporate fleets and local authorities. The solutions it offers will be marketed through different channels, including Izivia, a subsidiary of the EDF Group, which specializes in charging infrastructures.