Volvo Cars to push bi-directional charging

Volvo Cars is launching a new business unit for energy-related products and services. Under the umbrella of ‘Volvo Cars Energy Solutions’, the carmaker bundles technology and services for a comprehensive e-car ecosystem. At the start, there is a V2G pilot project in Gothenburg.

‘Volvo Cars Energy Solutions’ bundles technology and services for a comprehensive electric car ecosystem. This includes bi-directional charging, for which the EX90 is the first Volvo model to have the necessary hardware and software.

Gothenburg try-out

With Gothenburg Energi Nät, the local energy grid operator in Volvo’s hometown, the carmaker is launching one of the first vehicle-to-grid pilot programs. In the course of this, V2G technology will be integrated into the local energy grid and the domestic environment and tested by actual customers.

According to earlier statements by Lutz Stiegler, Solution Manager of Electric Propulsion at Volvo Cars, Volvo has left it open as to whether it will use AC or DC for bi-directional charging. Still, in the Gothenburg project, a “low-cost wall box with alternating current (AC) is used”.

Volvo uses AC in this pilot project “to underline the suitability for everyday use and to accelerate the technical introduction”. DC wall box chargers may have technical advantages for bi-directional charging, but they are expensive and rare. This means that, according to Volvo cars, a test of suitability for everyday use and rapid introduction are impossible to the desired extent.

Test laboratory

As a project goal, Volvo wants to promote the acceptance of network operators and show them the advantages of V2G. In addition, the project also functions as a test laboratory outside the company’s own research and development centers to try out new future technology.

Volvo expects that the brand’s electric cars delivered by the middle of the decade will have a cumulative battery capacity of around 50 gWh. However, on an average trip in Europe, these electric vehicles consume less than 10 kWh daily, according to Volvo. 90% of all daily journeys require no more than 20 kWh. This leaves enough battery capacity that can be used for other purposes.

“With bi-directional charging, you can use your car battery as an extra energy supply, for example, to provide power to your home, other electric devices, or another electric Volvo car,” said Alexander Petrofski, the new head of Volvo Cars Energy Solutions.

“The next step would be to enable this feature all around Sweden, and hopefully that will pave the way for even broader acceptance of similar charging and energy storage services around Europe.”

“With the help of smart charging, you can charge your electric Volvo at the best available time from a sustainability and economy perspective,” Alexander Petrofski added. “Now imagine you could use that energy later, perhaps during peak times when prices are higher and the energy mix less sustainable.”

“The idea with building an energy ecosystem around your car and the batteries is that it allows you to save money and reduce your CO2 emissions, while energy firms benefit from reduced grid investments and a lower overall impact on the environment.”

Also V2H and V2L

According to Volvo, V2G is just one of the technologies they envision as a part of that ecosystem offered under the Volvo Cars Energy Solutions banner.

They’re also looking at vehicle-to-home (V2H) products that allow you to send back energy to your house and lower your energy bill, as well as vehicle-to-load (V2L) services whereby your electric car battery powers your camping gear or charges your electric bicycle.

Over time, Volvo Cars expects that its Energy Solutions will generate significant new revenues from energy-related products and services every year, as well as new products not previously offered by Volvo Cars.

Continuing growth

Volvo Cars also reported its 14th consecutive month of growth as global sales reached 59 861 cars in October, up 10% compared to last year. The sales increase was primarily driven by the company’s fully electric cars. For the period January-October 2023, the company sold 569 019 cars, which is 18% more compared to the same period for 2022.

In October, Volvo Cars’ electrified Recharge models, with a fully electric or plug-in hybrid powertrain, comprised 36% of all Volvo cars sold globally. Sales of fully electric cars grew by 29% compared to last year and comprised 18% of total sales, 12% in October 2022.


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