TotalEnergies in the Netherlands has started applying a new sustainable technique of 'smart charging' in its own network of around 13,000 public charging points.
According to the company, this reduces CO2 emissions, EVs can use more wind and solar power, less power is needed from gas and coal plants and the power grid is less burdened. TotalEnergies is the first provider in the Netherlands to do this on the entire public network.
The term 'smart charging' for electric cars has been known in the Netherlands for some time. The demand for electricity is not the same at every moment of the day. To meet the demand in the evening during peak hours, fossil electricity from gas and coal-fired power plants is still needed.
At the same time, the demand for electricity during off-peak hours in the afternoon or weekend is sometimes so low that wind and solar installations generate more than necessary. According to TotalEnergies, supply and demand can be better matched by moving the charging of electric cars to a more favorable time.
The company uses this method and adds a smart algorithm that takes into account what actually happens at a charging point. The new way that TotalEnergies introduces takes all circumstances into account: the number of cars charging simultaneously, how long someone has been connected, how much power a car actually needs, the availability of green electricity and the load on the grid.
When there is a lot of power available from the sun and wind, the manager increases the power of the charging stations. As a result, electric cars can charge more and faster. Smart technology ensures that cars that have been charging for a long time are the first to receive less power when less green energy is available. For example, cars that still need a lot of energy are not bothered by smart charging.
Other smart charging systems mainly adjust their charging capacity to the price of electricity. TotalEnergies uses a different criterion. "We aim for CO2 savings and stimulate the use of energy from the sun and wind," says Stefaan De Ganck, director of TotalEnergies Charging Solutions Netherlands.
"In practice, the price of electricity is often lower when there is a lot of green electricity available on the grid. The electricity grid is also often less stressed at those times. These are great side effects that the e-driver can also benefit from."