Study: »Smart charging« can multiply supply share of own solar power system for electric cars

A team of researchers led by Martin Raubal, Professor of Geoinformation Engineering at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) Zurich, has investigated which charging strategies can be used to supply electric cars with as much electricity as possible from private PV system. For this purpose, the data of 78 e-car users were analyzed, whose driving, standing and charging times were recorded down to the minute over a period of ten months. The researchers then simulated PV systems taking into account real-life conditions at the participants’ home addresses.
Assuming that the PV system’s yield is used primarily for charging the e-car, the research group calculated what proportion could be used for this purpose. Without optimization, an average of 15 percent of the car’s annual electricity requirements could be covered. Using intelligent control (smart charging), which ensures that the battery is preferably charged when solar power is available, the proportion could be increased to 56 percent. If the smart-charging potential was consistently exploited, up to 90 percent was achieved. »We were surprised by the high proportion,« Raubal says. »Smart charging can significantly increase the household consumption of photovoltaic power – and the vehicle can be used just as flexibly as if it were charged with mains electricity«. Machine learning strategies are currently being developed by Raubal’s group with the aim of predicting solar yield and user behavior as accurately as possible. They form the basis for the development of smart-charging algorithms, which are aimed at soon being used as standard in charging stations for electric vehicles.

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