Saturday, April 13, 2024

Utrecht to use shared cars as large-scale neighborhood batteries

With the increasing use of renewable energy, the need for energy storage has become more important than ever. Electric vehicles (EVs) that are plugged into charging stations can be used as a huge city-wide battery to provide energy storage.

Utrecht is set to take a big step towards renewable energy thanks to a new partnership between We Drive Solar and MyWheels. The partnership will see We Drive Solar’s bidirectional charging technology made available to MyWheels’ extensive fleet of shared cars.

This innovative technology will allow the cars to both charge and discharge bidirectionally and thus act as energy storage for the neighborhood. This will make Utrecht the first city in the world to experience the benefits of a ‘neighborhood battery on wheels’ on such a large scale.

By the end of 2023, around 300 station-based electric shared cars from MyWheels will be connected to We Drive Solar charging stations in Utrecht. The aim is to increase this number significantly in the upcoming years, not only in Utrecht but also in other locations.

The available solar and wind energy is used to charge the shared cars and can be fed back to the grid when there is more demand for sustainable electricity. This means the high-power density batteries that make EVs so quick to accelerate also make them ideal for quickly sending power back into the grid.

“We are building The People’s Powerplant – an energy system in which we store the energy we generate ourselves and share it with our locality or neighbors. This is how we accelerate the energy transition and keep it affordable for everyone,” says Henri de Jong, CEO of The Sharing Group, which includes MyWheels and the energy platform EnergyZero.

The partnership with We Drive Solar seems to be playing a crucial role in connecting these two worlds. While MyWheels electric cars provide shared mobility in the neighborhood along with serving as a local battery, EnergyZero’s energy platform operates based on dynamic rates.

With years of experience in charging and discharging shared cars, We Drive Solar is utilizing this expertise to make the Netherlands’ largest electric shared car fleet accessible as a storage capacity for a sustainable electricity supply.