Renault has been testing a smart-charging system designed to reduce costs and lower the impact of car charging on the electrical grid. Eleven Renault employees in Germany who own ZOE battery-electric cars tested the in-home charging system developed by The Mobility House. Results show that the smart system both lowers grid impact and improves charging time by up to an hour.
The Renault employees were given specially-designed charging stations to test the new system under real-life conditions. The charging stations are designed to communicate with the car and calculate grid-based electrical costs at the station's location, including detecting consumption peaks.
The charging station then charges the car when costs are lowest (when demand is low) and pauses charging when consumption peaks are detected. During low consumption periods, fast-charging is enabled to complete the charging as quickly as possible.
The testing was successful, showing up to an hour of reduced charging time thanks to better grid availability during the calculated low usage periods. Renault and The Mobility House see this as a first stage in the "smart grid" evolution for electricity distribution and usage.
The next stage of this smart charging system is being engineered now, Renault says. It aims to allow the car to feed electricity back into the grid and to optimize home energy generation (e.g. solar panels) to maximize returns in selling to the grid versus charging the EV.