Issue: Dec 2013

Crafting a business model for EV charging solutions

by Jon Knox

User scenarios on the smart grid.

SMARTV2G is a collaborative project funded by the European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme (FP7).
Smart electronic grids are needed to support the smart electronic and hybrid vehicles that are making inroads into the market. Smart grids also need smart business plans in order to ensure that they are sustainable. One of the companies working on the business model is Technomar, which was established in 1978 as a technology oriented market research and business consultancy.

Today, the company has a network of associated institutes across the world. Technomar is part of the FP7 Project Smart Vehicle to Grid Interface SMARTV2G. The main target of the project is the intelligent connection of electric vehicles to the grid and data network. This requires the development of new generation technologies for safe, seamless and user- friendly charging of electric vehicles in urban areas.

The project consortium consists of seven companies from four European countries, which provide familiar know-how from the Electric-Mobility sector. The consortium members are The University of Rome, the Slovenian supplier of software and hardware for smart-grid charging infrastructure for electric vehicles ETREL, the electrical distribution company Elektro Ljubljana, the Spanish integrator of ICT solutions CIT, the Spanish Electrical Technology Institute (ITE), the German Fraunhofer Institute for Communication Systems ESK and Technomar. Technomar’s focus is on supporting industrial goods manufacturing companies including the automotive industry.

For automotive companies, Technomar is able to provide expertise in the areas of systems engineering and process technology. The company’s customers represent all industries along the value chain of electromobility, such as Siemens, Motorola, Kuka, Continental, DENSO, E.ON Ruhrgas, and others who are acting in the field of ICT and automotive, as well as national governments such as the German Ministry for Economics and Technology; and associations like VDMA. Technomar has also conducted a number of projects for the European Commission. It was the lead partner for the structural analysis of the European Satellite Navigation System Galileo. On behalf of TÜV SÜD, Technomar conducted a representative survey regarding the future of car distribution in 2011.

The SMARTV2G participated in the 27th edition of the World Symposium and Exhibition (EVS) organized by the World Electric Vehicle Association (WEVA). The event is recognized as the premier event for academic, government and industry professionals involved in electric drive technologies held in Barcelona, Spain, from November 17 to 20.

Automotive Industries (AI) asked Zsolt Krémer, joint Managing Director, Technomar, to explain the “smartness” of the charging station and overall system.

Krémer: Smart system modules work together to provide a full electronic vehicle (FEV) fleet management tool integrated with the charging station infrastructure and with the smart grid. It is important to ensure that grid provides information about its charging station positions, its capacity utilization and forecast of energy costs. For these reasons smart modules have been developed in order to interact with the charging station (CS) infrastructure, using self-developed, secure communication flows between the CS infrastructure and the V2GSI components.

In addition, the CS infrastructure supports the higher ICT levels by providing the information needed for monitoring of operation and provision of value-added services. The main intelligence of the smart charging infrastructure lies in the higher control level. It is entity responsible for the intelligently management of the energy demands received from the different CS through the day, along with the reservations made. It also has to communicate with the demand-side operator, to supervise electrical levels and power quality, and maybe with an aggregator to buy the energy needed for charging.

In this sense, various features have been developed, such as EV load forecasting, estimation of V2G availability, optimal management of CSs according to demand side management and users preference like, for example CS booking, CS finder and route planning

AI: How will the system comply with the applicable standards for the interconnection with the electric power systems?

Krémer: One of the main objectives in the SMARTV2G project is to obtain a fast DC charger with smart and bi-directional capabilities in order to facilitate the interoperability between different protocols in the EU. To achieve this objective, the communication specifications of current CHAdeMO quick charging connection standard have been expanded.

The dual power converter topology selected and developed ensures that the bidirectional power flow is feasible. However, there’s no public IEC standard that covers the bidirectional power flow for DC Chargers (from vehicle to grid). While there is agreement ISO/IEC 15118-1, as of now there has been no implementation of the standard. ISO 15118 specifies the communication between Electric Vehicles (EV) (including battery electric vehicles and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles), and the electric vehicle supply equipment (EVSE).

AI then asked Andreas Varesi, joint Managing Director, Technomar, what benefits provided by communication between an electric vehicle and the smart grid were highlighted at the 27th EVS hosted in Barcelona.

Varesi: This communication simplifies the charging process while saving energy and money. To ensure a timely charging process, the system requires information regarding the available charging stations within the calculated driving range. Determining the optimal charging station requires static information such as location, existing charging options, payment methods or a detailed map showing how to get there.

Highly dynamic information is also relevant for an optimal charging process. This includes the number of available parking spots, current energy prices and a reservation process. Data exchange is also necessary for identifying the user and selecting preset options, as well as for authentication and billing. All these features are developed and will be presented.

A second issue will be the communication between the smart grid and the e-vehicle. Researchers are creating a uniform, manufacture-independent specification for the electric-vehicle-to-charging station communication through ISO/IEC15118. This standard defines a comprehensive exchange of information that is essential for the “smart” charging process. Communication between the charging station and the smart grid will be based on an enhancement of the IEC 61850 global standard. Our partner in the consortium, Fraunhofer ESK, is a driving force behind the further development of the IEC61850-90-8 specification, which to date has been available in draft form.

By combining the two standards, the charging station is transformed into a node that integrates the electric vehicle charging process into the smart grid. For wireless communication, one of the technologies under consideration is the new IEEE 802.11p standard, including the ITS-G5 European profile for local communication between vehicles and road side units (RSU) in the communication infrastructure. Some of these electromobility wireless interface functions are currently being specified by the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI) in the area of intelligent traffic systems (ITS). Fraunhofer ESK is also examining mobile technologies such as UMTS and LTE in addition to various hybrid approaches as part of the project.

AI: Tell us a little about Technomar’s role in the project.

Varesi: Technomar is responsible for dissemination and the business plan. We are working on business models to bring the findings to market and screening cooperation partners for the global concept, as well as for the single project developments. It is clear that the provision of charging stations alone cannot generate sufficient turnover to finance the necessary investments. So, we have to analyze which business models can be attractive and how the project developments can be used.

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