Audi Could Recharge Your Home, e-tron Gets Along Well With Tesla Solar Panels?

Imagine this scenic view: you go home after a hard day’s work and the lovely one-story building connects to your Audi e-tron to exchange information and even electricity. According to Audi and its partner, the Hager Group, this might be possible soon through bidirectional charging.
Audi E-tron prototype 7 photos
Photo: Audi AG
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And perhaps those Tesla Solar Panels you were secretly thinking of installing instead of standard roof tiles make some sense now. You could then eschew buying a Powerwall – the e-tron would essentially become the home’s rechargeable battery system. Good idea, up to the point when you need to drive off into the sunset with your car. Then what happens?!

The integration of the electric car into the domestic grid is not entirely new – the subject became of major importance for Japan during the latest string of natural disasters. According to their strategy, bidirectional charging could be used to assist the emergency services or domestic consumers during power outages. Now the solution is increasingly making its presence felt in Europe as well.

Audi and the Hager Group are mostly interested in the commercial application aspects, though. The two partners are exploring bidirectional charging to see its benefits in terms of increasing electric network stability, making electricity more affordable and lending a helping hand to the environment.

And their new research project has apparently found some major advantages when the bidirectional charging integration of the car into the domestic grid also includes a photovoltaic system. The German carmaker is looking at novel ways of keeping up to its Paris Climate Agreement promise of reaching fleet-wide vehicle CO2 neutrality by 2050.

The company has already promised we could see around 20 EVs with the four-ringed logo running around by 2025 – not just today’s e-tron and e-tron Sportback. But to achieve the ambitious climate goal it also needs innovative solutions. For example, while Germany reached a 50%+ renewable energy mix during the first six months of 2020 the country also faced a conundrum.

Wind and solar power are inconsistent energy providers – if there are clouds and a calm atmosphere the kilowatts are nowhere to be found. On the contrary, if there is too much sun and increased wind activity the storage capacity will be overwhelmed, and the generated energy is basically lost.

Audi and its partner then simply thought about transforming the electric car into a mobile energy storage unit. Put simply, when connected to the home grid, the near-production e-tron prototype was not only charged but could also return the energy to the house.

Audi used a rather complicated system that also included a solar array and a stationary 9 kWh storage unit. This has been dubbed as a Vehicle to Home (V2H) system – and Audi thinks it could help with reducing energy costs as well as in the event of a blackout.

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About the author: Aurel Niculescu
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Aurel has aimed high all his life (literally, at 16 he was flying gliders all by himself) so in 2006 he switched careers and got hired as a writer at his favorite magazine. Since then, his work has been published both by print and online outlets, most recently right here, on autoevolution.
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