Intelligent charging management: Audi’s Connect charging system is just a start

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The charging control at the level of an electric car is already working, but in future electricity consumption will have to be coordinated in entire streets

Intelligent charging management: Audi's Connect charging system is just a start-management

When everyone wants to charge their electric car after work, the lights go out in the whole street: This is a horror scenario that electric car skeptics often paint on the wall. As a counter-argument, the intelligent charging management is usually cited in the field. But how exactly does it work?

Nowadays, charging is at best controlled at the level of the individual electric car – with mode 2 charging cables that have an integrated control unit. One example is the Connect charging system from Audi. The Connect charging system is optionally available from Audi for the E-tron and the plug-in hybrids. The price of the E-Tron: 1,270 euros. Intelligent charging management: Audi's Connect charging system is just a start-intelligent

Audi‘s `Charging System Connect` supports AC charging with up to 22 kW.

The Connect charging system supports:

  • Cost-optimized charging (good for electricity tariffs with electricity prices that vary over time)
  • Recording of the amount of energy used for submission to the employer or authorities
  • Use of solar power: Maximum use of your own photovoltaic system for charging, taking into account sunshine forecasts and the intended departure time
  • Blackout protection for the house network: the charging system communicates with a compatible HEMS and always charges with the maximum available power. For example, if the washing machine starts up at 10 p.m., the charging power is automatically reduced so that the fuse does not fly.

With the Connect charging system, the charging power of the E-tron and E-tron Sportback can be reduced as required. Both models have the necessary intelligence – a skill that Audi also wants to pass on to its future electric models.

But this control at the level of an electric car is just the beginning. In the future, charging power, charging time and charging time should be controlled for all cars on a street, and the Connect charging system cannot yet do that.

In order to prevent a blackout (i.e. overloading the power grid), charging must be controlled in terms of timing and charging power. To do this, the electric cars communicate with the network operator or operators. In this way, the car and its user could inform that a vehicle is needed again at 10 p.m., while the neighbour’s electric car is not put back into operation until the morning. The network operator, in turn, could report that the network is currently 80 percent full.

Intelligent charging management: Audi's Connect charging system is just a start-audi

The bottom line is that this control should result in a win-win situation: The electric car uses downtimes for charging with dynamic adjustment of the charging power. The network benefits from even usage.

The car owner could also benefit from lower electricity prices. To do this, he or she would have to accept certain restrictions on charging in the evening, for example. That would be possible, for example, because the electric car is charged by the employer during the day anyway.

Cars with the capability of bidirectional charging could also be used as flexible intermediate storage for solar and wind power during their idle time – a resource that is only available at very variable rates. An advantage for the car owner would be that the car battery could be used as an emergency power supply in the event of a power failure. At times of the day with high electricity prices, the battery could even take over the power supply of the house. Or you could use the electricity at the allotment garden house, which is not connected to the power grid. The E-tron cannot yet charge bi-directionally, but Audi is researching it. This video shows the concept:

The central component for communication is a so-called Smartmeter Gateway (SMGW) – a device that is already mandatory for large consumers (over 6,000 kWh per year). The SMGW creates a secure data connection between the house and the network operator.

The technical standards and communication protocols required for "network-friendly" charging are already available. The main guideline is the new "DKE application rule AR-E 2829-6", which describes the exchange of information between the domestic grid connection and the energy industry. The EEBUS data model serves as the communication protocol – it was developed by the EEBUS e.V. initiative, in which Audi is also involved. It has set itself the goal of networking the participants in the future energy industry in Europe on the basis of a standardized language.

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