Audi is following other automakers into the energy market, with an experiment to link its vehicles to the energy grid, to create a ‘virtual power plant VPP that can be dynamically sold to utilities.
Automobile, home and power supply combined to form an intelligent energy network: In a pilot project the Audi Smart Energy Network for the first time interacts with the power grid.
As part of a research project, Audi is running a pilot project with households in the Ingolstadt area and the Zurich region in conjunction with other partners. This involves combining various sizes of photovoltaic systems with stationary storage batteries.
The control software by the Zurich start-up company Ampard distributes the solar power intelligently based on the current or plannable demand from car, household and heating system. A unique feature of the pilot project is that it also interacts with the power grid: Over a built-in communication interface, all systems are interconnected to form a virtual power plant, and constitute a smart grid.
The connected home storage devices can provide what is known as balancing power. In other words, they balance out the fluctuations between power generation and consumption, and stabilize the grid frequency by temporarily storing smaller amounts of energy in stationary units at short notice. This optimizes internal consumption: Operators of photovoltaic systems increase their proportion of own-use solar power while cutting their power procurement costs.
“We are looking at electric mobility in the context of an overall energy supply system that is increasingly based on renewables. We are playing a pioneering role with the prequalification of the balancing-power market – enabling producers to feed power into the grid, as part of the pilot project. That is now for the first time also possible down at the level of individual households, which helps balance the entire power grid,” remarked Dr. Hagen Seifert, Head of Sustainable Product Concepts at Audi.
As part of its quest for emission-free premium mobility, Audi is also looking at services that extend beyond the automobile as a product. One important aspect is the interrelationship between all those areas of life where the car meshes seamlessly with a connected environment. There is particular focus on services that involve interaction between car and environment.