Australia’s national science agency has launched EV charging technology it says will link rooftop solar with batteries and alleviate stress on the grid in parts of the country expected to suffer constraints as demand rises.
With more EVs on Australian roads, demand for charging infrastructure will grow and the CSIRO expects this will place stress on grid-powered charging stations.
Solar-powered EV charging stations will maximise use of renewable energy, the agency claims, with the potential to alleviate stress on the grid during peak periods.
The technology supports charging of multiple vehicles in areas with limited access to grid power – such as home garages and public car parks – where the charge rate would otherwise be limited.
Funded by the Victorian Government and in collaboration with Delta Electronics and Nissan Australia, CSIRO researchers developed and tested the system, incorporating a range of heat management strategies to ensure batteries are charged and discharged efficiently.
Lead researcher from CSIRO’s Centre for Hybrid Energy Systems Dr Christopher Munnings said up to 90% of EV charging was likely to take place in the home.
“A normal household battery system is typically not powerful enough to charge a car on a hot day as it can overheat and slow down,” Dr Munnings said.
“We’ve devised a way to manage the temperature of the battery, minimising the amount of power required from the grid.
“In a multi-EV home, this system will automatically monitor each car, spreading the load between the battery, solar PV and the rest of the home. This means the cars charge as quickly as possible, using as much sun as possible, without the need to upgrade grid connection.”
Three solar charging modules have been installed at Nissan’s headquarters in Dandenong, Victoria, each capable of charging four vehicles.
They will be tested and evaluated over 200 days, including the peak summer period.
Following the test period, project partners will evaluate data collected throughout the trial, with the intention of confirming associated environmental and cost benefits.
Electric vehicles are are relatively rare sight on Australian roads but this is expected to change as more models are released by mainstream marques and new-car sales eventually recover from an 18-month slump.