Ginninderra News

18 Oct 2019

Powering-up EV on PV

A new CSIRO-developed solar charging system for electric vehicles (EVs) will relieve pressures on grid-fed charging stations and help advance the uptake of EVs powered by renewable energy.

With more EVs on Australian roads, demand for infrastructure is growing and placing stress on grid-powered charging stations especially during times of peak loads, such as on hot summer days.

To address this challenge, the Victorian Government provided funding to CSIRO, Nissan Australia and Delta Electronics to create a system that links solar photovoltaics (PV) and battery with smart charging technology.

CSIRO researchers helped to develop and test a new system which draws upon renewable energy to charge a vehicle at any time of day, and in any weather, with little impact to the electricity grid.

The charging system was developed with the Australian household in mind, overcoming challenges associated with EV charging, including managing temperatures on even the hottest days.  The system incorporates a range of heat management strategies to ensure batteries are charged and discharged efficiently.

The technology also supports charging of multiple vehicles in areas with limited access to grid power – such as home garages and public carparks – where the charge rate would otherwise be limited.

Lead researcher from CSIRO’s Centre for Hybrid Energy Systems Dr Christopher Munnings said up to 90 per cent of EV charging was likely to take place in the home.

“A normal household battery system is typically not powerful enough to charge a car on a hot day as it can overheat and slow down,” Dr Munnings said. “We’ve devised a way to manage the temperature of the battery, minimising the amount of power required from the grid.

“In a multi-EV home, this system will automatically monitor each car, spreading the load between the battery, solar PV and the rest of the home.

“This means the cars charge as quickly as possible, using as much sun as possible, without the need to upgrade grid connection. This technology could accelerate the widespread rollout of EVs across the country.”

Three solar charging modules have been installed at Nissan Headquarters in Dandenong, Victoria each capable of charging four vehicles. They will be tested and evaluated over 200 days, including over the peak summer period.

Nissan Australia Managing Director Stephen Lester said: “Nissan is proud to partner with CSIRO and Delta Electronics to deliver this innovative trial and acknowledges the investment of the Victorian Government in supporting this project.”

Following the test period, project partners will evaluate data collected throughout the trial, with the intention of confirming associated environmental and cost benefits.

Find out more about the benefits of CSIRO’s Solar powered electric vehicle charging

CSIRO EV being charged at the smart solar EV charging station

Charging of multiple vehicles is possible in areas with limited access to grid power

Lead researcher from CSIRO’s Centre for Hybrid Energy Systems, Dr Christopher Munnings is plugged into all things ‘electric vehicles’.

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