Volvo is launching a new business unit called Volvo Cars Energy Solutions, which will offer technologies and services for energy storage and charging, allowing for more efficient energy use for Volvo cars and customers.
This bi-directional charging technology allows an electric car to give back extra battery power to a compatible grid, helping to balance the grid during peak hours and reducing the need for fossil-generated electricity.
Volvo’s new flagship, the fully electric EX90 SUV, will be the first Volvo car equipped with all the necessary hardware and software to enable bi-directional charging and direct energy storage from solar power.
Together with Göteborg Energi Nät AB, the local grid company in Volvo’s Swedish hometown of Gothenburg, Volvo is launching one of the first vehicle-to-grid (V2G) pilot programmes that aim to test V2G technologies on the local energy grid with real customers.
The pilot intentionally chooses a low-cost AC wallbox to promote widespread adoption of the technology. The purpose of this pilot project is not only to demonstrate to other grid companies that V2G programs can provide tangible benefits, but also to create a testing ground for new technologies that are critical to the future of Volvo Cars.
“With bi-directional charging, you can use your car battery as an extra energy supply to provide power to your home, other electric devices, or another electric Volvo car,” said Alexander Petrofski, the new head of Volvo Cars Energy Solutions. “The next step would be to enable this feature all around Sweden, paving the way for even broader acceptance of similar charging and energy storage services around Europe.”
Volvo plans to become fully electric by 2030, bringing a multitude of electric Volvo cars to the roads in the coming years. Volvo engineers have calculated that the total battery capacity of that fleet will reach around 50 GWh by mid-decade. While these cars will use several TWh in electricity each year, this energy consumption is flexible and can be moved in time via smart charging.
At the same time, data from Volvo’s fleet indicates that the average daily drive in Europe uses less than 10 kWh, while 90 percent of all daily drives use less than 20 kWh. This means that there is ample spare battery capacity left that can benefit both the climate and Volvo’s customers. Bi-directional charging will allow customers to repurpose the energy stored in the battery of their electric Volvo, enabling electric vehicles to supply excess energy back to the grid for compensation when demand is high.
“With the help of smart charging, you can charge your electric Volvo at the best available time from a sustainability and economy perspective,” said Petrofski. “Now imagine if you could use that energy later, perhaps during peak times when prices are higher and the energy mix less sustainable. This idea of building an energy ecosystem around your car and batteries allows you to save money and reduce your CO2 emissions, while energy firms benefit from reduced grid investments and a lower overall impact on the environment.”
Volvo is also looking at vehicle-to-home (V2H) products that allow energy to be sent from the vehicle to the house, reducing energy costs and consumption. Furthermore, they are also examining vehicle-to-load (V2L) services, where electric car batteries can power camping gear and electric bicycles.
Over time, Volvo anticipates that Volvo Cars Energy Solutions will generate significant new revenues from energy-related products and services every year, as well as new products not previously offered by Volvo Cars. In doing so, Energy Solutions is set to add value to Volvo’s core business, customers’ daily lives, and the environment.
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