German car manufacturer Audi has announced it will carry out a trial project for a new Smart Energy Network in its home city of Ingolstadt and the Zurich area. The Smart Energy Network is a system comprising stationary batteries (installed somewhere like your garage) which get their power from solar panels on the roof of your home.
The batteries can then be used to power your home or charge your electrified Audi. So far, it sounds similar to systems from Nissan and even IKEA that store generated power for use when the sun goes away.
But Audi's system is a little different, because it not only uses software to work out the expected needs of the home, car or even a heating system, and send power where its needed most, but it also talks to the power grid to send power back.
Audi's Smart Energy Network would charge up the car for example, while also filling up the stationary battery, then if the house doesn't require so much energy, the battery can feed its stored power back into the grid. Audi says it envisages multiple homes becoming involved with the system to create a "virtual power plant", capable of delivering power across the grid as and when it's needed.
Dr. Hagen Seifert, Head of Sustainable Product Concepts at Audi, said of the project: "We are looking at electric mobility in the context of an overall energy supply system that is increasingly based on renewables."
"We are playing a pioneering role with the prequalification of the balancing-power market – enabling producers to feed power into the grid, as part of the pilot project. That is now for the first time also possible down at the level of individual households, which helps balance the entire power grid."