Turning Your Tesla into a Green Clean Money Machine

Smart charging: lessons from the past
Turning Your Tesla into a Green Clean Money Machine
Publ. date 22 Jun 2015
As early as 1505, Emperor Maximilian had the vision to establish a postal network in the European Empire, appointing Franz von Taxis to run it. After the collapse of the Empire in the beginning of the 19th Century, the Thurn and Taxis postal system continued as a seperate organization. In current times, with new technologies and postal volumes dropping between 3-9% annually such a network is no longer required. But what can we learn from history when smart charging is applied in the roll-out of the European electrical vehicles recharging network?

The Thurn and Taxis system were postmen covering long distances to deliver royal, as well as private mail stopped at so-called mail hotels along the route to recharge themselves and their equipment. During these stops, postmen were given new horses, lodging facilities were made available and an array of additional local services came to life.

The storage of overproduction of electricity 

Electricity is used almost all the time by every company and every individual. But what happens in cases of overproduction, when demand for electricity is low? Grid operators are now able to store the produced electricity within transmission grids, and this saved energy can be utilized during peak periods, when demand increases.

However, consumers can choose to postpone their battery re-charging up to a point when demand peaks off and gain monetary benefits from pre-saved electricity. Because the electricity load is now balanced, consumers benefit of purchasing electricity – for example, to recharge the batteries of their electric cars – against lower rates during peak off times. 

The first European Smart Charging Pilot 

Dutch grid operator Enexis has initiated the first European Smart Charging Pilot which makes it possible to charge your electrical car against the lowest available price. This means that the market for recharging car batteries is getting more competitive and that electricity suppliers need to be more transparent about their pricing strategies.

Users of hybrid and fully electrical cars now reap the benefits because they are able to choose between flexible prices of different energy suppliers and are not tied to one provider which is currently the case.

Users can always choose the – at that moment – lowest price among alternatives. The pilot currently runs in the south of The Netherlands and will last until the end of November 2015. 

Case study: smart charging pays off

An investigative case study, conducted by Enexis in 2010, revealed that if a company has around 150 parking spots available, it will be able to save €1,200 each month due to smart charging. This amount is forecasted to increase to €7,900 a month in 2040. The case study furthermore indicates that due to smart-charging, the operator’s transformation grid is not overloaded when the 36th car is recharging its battery, when the 419th car is in need of electricity.

This significant change ensures that less investments are needed since the even electricity load is resulting in less overloaded transformation grids. Therefore, the electricity networks are able to keep up with the different individual and collective needs of end users in terms of charging their electrical products at lower cost.

The key conclusion and what we can learn from smart charging in the past compared to today is that smart charging stations can be used to offer more services. Because of competition and pricing transparency, the electricity loads can be balanced out, offering monetary incentives for consumers. After all, more people will be using one charging station and this sharing economy magnifies the value of those smart charging stations. 

Sparking innovation at your company?

If you want to explore new business opportunities from sustainability for your company, please feel free to contact Jan van der Kaaij, Managing Partner, at jan@finchandbeak.com or call +31 6 28 02 18 80 to find out how sustainable innovation benefits your company.

Image source: Windell Oskay, Flickr               

About Bas Nuijten

Sustainability professional aiming to help organizations to continuously improve their sustainability strategies. | 
bas@finchandbeak.com

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