Electric vehicles are synonymous with progress, be it technological, environmental, or societal. Thanks to smart charging, they are becoming one of the keys in the development of renewable energies and the balance of electric systems.
The EDF group is convinced that electric mobility must include smart charging solutions. That is why smart charging and the development of the relevant infrastructures have been one of the strong points of our Electric Mobility Plan since its launch in October 2018.
Moreover, EDF views smart charging as a true asset for electric vehicle users. As a result, the projected arrival of 4.8 million electric vehicles on the market by 2028 (according to the Multi-Year Energy Plan forecasts) should pose no problem. No more blackout worries!
What’s smart charging?
Smart charging is a generic term that refers to all types of technology that seek to optimize the charging or discharging of an electric vehicle, by managing the vehicle's charging power in an efficient, flexible and economical way.
The first brick, known as "smart charging" or "V1G", enables users to recharge their vehicles at the most opportune times. In practical terms, the autonomy of present day batteries does not require a complete daily recharge cycle. Recharging can therefore be optimized in various ways. For example, a battery can be recharged on a weekly basis to take advantage of lower rates during the weekend, excess photovoltaic production can be self-consumed in the middle of the day on a Sunday or recharging can wait until the middle of the night on a Tuesday when there is a surplus of wind energy production.
The second brick, known as "V2X", uses the same batteries to re-inject stored energy into the networks at the best possible times. From an energy company's point of view, an electric vehicle represents a large reservoir of energy, which is unused 95% of the time. For a household, this can represent several days of energy supply, while for an electric system, V2X can significantly increase existing electricity storage capacity over a few days. This new "asset" can be utilized and commercialized provided that the energy can be re-injected into homes (V2H), buildings (V2B) or electrical grids (V2G). In this way, stored energy is fed into the electric system.
What are the challenges of smart charging?
Smart charging provides several benefits:
- for EDF customers, who can schedule the charging of their vehicles when electricity rates are the lowest and who can activate an option to re-inject the stored energy in their vehicle's battery into the electrical grid. Customers are paid for providing the latter service. This may represent the monetary equivalent of 15,000 km of driving in a year.
- for the electrical system. An electric vehicle can in fact be considered a battery containing several dozen kWh, which is parked about 95% of the time. By aggregating the batteries of 16 million electric vehicles (highest projection made by RTE for 2035), it may be possible to garner a virtual storage capacity equivalent to more than 10 times that of the current pumped-storage hydroelectricity stations. The stakes are therefore very high.
With smart charging, electromobility represents a real opportunity for the development of renewable energies, for the electrical system and for owners of electric vehicles.
EDF takes smart charging and vehicle-to-grid further by creating Dreev
In 2019, EDF Pulse Croissance (EDF Group’s Corporate venture capital at this time) and California-based start-up Nuvve founded Dreev, thereby demonstrating the Group's firm commitment to smart charging and vehicle-to-grid (V2G) technology. Dreev's core business is focused on the development of V2G solutions, the most innovative aspect of smart charging. Provided by Dreev and developed by Nuvve, this technology has already proven its effectiveness throughout the world. V2G solutions are designed for companies and local authorities, and Dreev is encouraged that several companies have already decided to adopt this solution. The commercial offer is supported in France by Izivia, a subsidiary of the EDF Group, specialized in recharging infrastructures. Since January 27, 2021, V2G Enterprise has been a part of its service offer.