Three car giants develop electric car solutions at DTU

Electrotechnology Energy
The changeover from petrol to electricity poses challenges for car manufacturers. The solution is called Vehicle-to-Grid—a field in which DTU researchers excel.

The manufacturers of Peugeot, Citroen, Opel, Mitsubishi, and Nissan are currently developing tomorrow’s software for electric cars at DTU. The manufacturers will focus on a new type of electric vehicle that can supply power to the grid on a par with solar cells and wind turbines.

In order for the vehicles not simply to consume power, but to discharge their batteries back into the grid, they must embody the so-called ‘Vehicle-to-Grid’ (V2G) concept. The Mitsubishi Motors Corporation, Renault-Nissan Alliance, and Groupe PSA have therefore formed a united front in the Parker research project based at DTU.

All the test vehicles in the Parker Project are the latest series-produced models, including the Citroën Berlingo, Nissan Leaf, and Mitsubishi Outlander. The aim of the project is to develop a common V2G standard.

“It’s the first time three international car manufacturers have joined forces to demonstrate V2G across different car brands—just as it’s the most exhaustive and systematic demonstration of V2G services across car brands to date,” says Peter Bach Andersen, project manager and senior researcher at Center for Electric Power and Energy at DTU Electrical Engineering.

V2G benefits
The changeover from petrol to electric cars poses several challenges—e.g. the power grid can become overloaded locally if residents in a given residential area all return home from work at 5 p.m. and charge their car.

“In a worst-case scenario, it can plunge whole streets into darkness,” explains Peter Bach Andersen.

Before the end of the year, he and other DTU electric car researchers will therefore test the cars’ ability to balance the power grid and prevent streets from being plunged into darkness should electric cars become a household item. The researchers will also test the algorithms that will control the cars’ charging ability when there is most green energy in the grid.

“It’s smart because energy from solar and wind power must be used when it is generated,” says Peter Bach Andersen.

When the Parker project concludes in July 2018, DTU researchers will analyse which power grid services and technical properties electric cars across brands must support in order to best benefit the power grid. Subsequently, the plan is to develop a worldwide standard for car manufacturers.