Grid operator Netze BW has announced the completion of its electromobility project in Wangen, which has provided insight into the effects of increased EV grid penetration while depicting the potential of smart charging platforms to lighten the grid.
In the recently completed project “NETZlabor Intelligentes Heimladen” (Intelligent Home Charging), eight households in Wangen in Allgäu, Germany, used an electric car for all trips for six months.
The project aimed to provide important practical information on how smart metering management should be designed to support the integration of electric vehicles into the electricity grid in the best possible way.
The participants tested driving with electronic mobile devices in their everyday life as “e-pioneers” on Maria-Knöpfler-Straße.
With their VW E-Golf, BMW i3 or Tesla Model 3, drivers cover an average of 1,415 km per month.
The grid operator wanted to understand what challenges the local electricity grid faces as a result of the rise of electromobility.
According to project manager Sven Zahorka, two questions guide the implementation and analysis of the project:
- How does the charging behavior of e-car users affect the electricity grid?
- How can countermeasures be taken when it reaches its load limit due to increased charging of e-vehicles in the private sector?
“We received valuable information on these two matters,” Zahorka said in a statement.
For the project, smart metering systems – digital electricity meters – were equipped with additional control boxes for temporary management of charging processes. The operator highlighted the effectiveness of this method, which showed how a larger number of electric vehicles can be integrated into an existing electrical network.
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Intelligent charging management
During the six months of the project in Wangen, a maximum simultaneity of 50% was recorded – up to four of the eight cars charged at the same time.
According to Netze BW, this is in line with the results of most other tests they have performed on the grid integration of electromobility, but could be higher.
The average charging time was just over three hours. All the e-cars combined used electricity for a total of almost 2,600 hours over the duration of the project.
“We noticed a significantly higher load on the electricity grid, especially in the evening and during the week. However, thanks to intelligent charging management, the network load can be significantly reduced,” Zahorka explained.
Faster integration of e-mobility into the electricity grid
The smart metering systems and control boxes tested in the project have reportedly shown potential to avoid network bottlenecks without users feeling restricted.
For grid operators, this means that intelligent charging management makes it possible to integrate more charging infrastructure for e-vehicles into their existing electricity networks more quickly. However, Netze BW said the networks still need further expansion, while using controllable charging technology gives the company valuable time.
Finish line in Wangen
With the Wangen iteration, the entire NETZlabor project – which originally started in 2019 – has now come to an end.
In addition to the city in the district of Ravensburg, the project series was carried out at four other locations in Baden-Württemberg: in Ettenheim and Ringsheim (Ortenau district), as well as in Dossenheim (Rhine-Neckar district) and Künzelsau (Hohenlohe district). A total of 37 households participated in the five locations.
Netze BW provided an equal number of EVs in the locations and in 913 project days 380,000 km were driven and 74,115 KWh of electricity was charged.
“During the series of projects that started in 2019, we were able to test and further develop a charging management solution that we can use in the future for scalable control of private charging points,” said project manager Sven Zahorka.
In field tests, peak loads caused by electric vehicles can be reduced by 30% to 48% using this technology – without restricting customer mobility.
“Our goal is to further develop this solution so that it can be used as a standard for grid-friendly household charging management.”