In an attempt to cut down carbon emissions from the transportation sector, several countries around the globe are increasingly embracing electric vehicles (“EVs”). These cars are powered by rechargeable lithium-ion battery packs and produce zero emissions at the tailpipe, making them the perfect vehicle for a world looking to reduce its reliance on fossil fuels. But for EVs to be truly green, they have to run on sustainably sourced electricity, and EV makers have developed the technology to help make that happen.
Bidirectional charging, also known as vehicle-to-grid (“V2G”) technology, allows electric vehicles to release energy back into the grid. Since wind and solar energy are dependent on the elements, EVs equipped with this technology would be able to take in energy when it is plentiful, store it, and then release it back into the grid when the supply is low. Utrecht, the fourth-largest city in the Netherlands, will be one of the first municipalities to put this technology to the test on a large scale.
In partnership with Hyundai and Dutch startup We Drive Solar, the city has installed 500 bidirectional charging stations throughout the city and region of Utrecht. Hyundai’s Ioniq 5, one of the few electric vehicle models equipped with bidirectional charging capabilities, will be used in the system’s initial test runs. A statement from the two companies says that the number of shared EVs with V2G technology will be scaled up to 150. Hyundai will provide the EVs while We Drive Solar will introduce and help integrate a car-sharing system.
We Drive Solar will also work in concert with the Delft University of Technology, Last Mile Solutions, Utrecht Sustainability Institute, Koolen Industries, local grid operators and other partners to carry out a large-scale study of the technology that would be required to create a bidirectional charging ecosystem capable of powering a large metropolitan area. This €3.3 million ($4,014,476) research project aims to develop a V2G ecosystem to help ease the stress on the country’s congested power network. Such an ecosystem would see EVs with V2G technology feed enough green energy back into the grid to actually make a difference during periods with low supply.
According to South Korean automaker Hyundai, Utrecht’s expertise coupled with a large public charging network attracted it to the city. Utrecht is one of the few regions in the world with a V2G charging network, and this partnership will see it become the first region in the world to develop a bidirectional charging ecosystem.
The electric vehicle industry is shaping up to be an exciting one, and things could get a notch hotter when companies from other sectors, such as Net Element (NASDAQ: NETE), join the EV industry bringing outsider views to the table.
NOTE TO INVESTORS: The latest news and updates relating to Net Element (NASDAQ: NETE) are available in the company’s newsroom at http://ibn.fm/NETE
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