There are plenty of challenges coming for the grid should EVs hit the road in mass numbers, and there have been more and more efforts lately to understand what the impacts will be and how to meet them. The Fraunhofer smart charging station currently under development in Germany offers a look at one of the ways large-scale charging challenges could be met with a system that waits to charge EVs until off-peak electricity hours.
In the Fraunhofer smart charging scenario, instead of coming home after work and immediately plugging into a conventional charger, just like all your neighbors–thereby taxing and already-taxed power grid–you’d plug into their smart charging station, which would allow you to choose between an immediate recharge or a longer one. If you choose the second option, according to Gizmag, all you have to do is punch in the next time your car will be needed; the charger will then parlay with your local utility to begin charging at a time when the grid is least in-demand–even keeping track of municipal power from renewable sources, which might be influenced by daylight or wind velocity at different times of day.
One of the winning ideas underpinning the Fraunhofer smart charging station is that the longer charge option would also allow users to buy when rates are lowest, saving money on electric “fuel,” while still offering the option for immediate gratification at a higher, peak-usage rate. It’s a system that seems to offer a real incentive to help out the grid (i.e., by helping out your pocketbook) and charge at times when renewables are most available, while still retaining transportation flexibility.