Smart-Charging With Renault ZOE in Germany

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Electric car owners appreciate reduced charging times for their vehicles, and even more so reduced charging cost. To test such a system, Renault Germany teamed up with The Mobility House (based in Zürich and Munich), which specializes in electric transport solutions such as smart charge terminals and energy storage systems.

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The Mobility House (TMH) has developed a technology that substantially reduces the charging cost for the customer, as well as shortening the charge time by an hour. Eleven ZOE owners, working at Renault in Germany, were selected to test the system developed by TMH under real-life conditions.

Once plugged in to a special charge station at the ZOE owner’s home, the car communicates its electricity needs via a Renault Global Data Center to TMH, which schedules vehicle charging on the basis of energy cost data. Electricity from the grid costs more during high demand periods and less when demand is low, so the system detects consumption peaks and stops charging until the cost falls. Fast charging then proceeds, at lower cost, until the car batteries are fully charged.

This technology enables electric car owners to optimize their electricity expenses without the trouble of having to calculate peak and trough demand periods themselves. It marks the first stage in forthcoming development of “smart grids”. Renault and TMH are also working together on other solutions for reducing charging costs, and offering electric vehicle owners ways to earn money by generating electricity to be fed into the grid.

The carbon footprint of electric cars is shrinking fast, with the shift already underway toward the use of renewable energies in the overall energy mix in most countries across the world today. Renewable energies feature in 56% of the new electricity power plants built in the world today. In Europe, this figure rises to 72%.

Renault ZOE emits 0 g/km of CO2 whereas an internal-combustion or hybrid vehicle of equivalent size emits at least 84 g/km. ZOE has an “official” (certification-cycle) range of 210 km (with the Q210 power unit) or 240 km (with the Q240), which works out at 100 km to 170 km under real-life driving conditions.