Electric cars are not only vehicles with a new drive. With their large batteries, they make an important contribution to the energy transition and help make the power grid fit for the future. Behind this are various technologies that are summarised under the term smart charging. With grid-friendly and bidirectional charging, fluctuations in electricity demand are to be balanced out and the grid stabilized.
UScale asked 1,830 e-car buyers and owners in detail about their opinion of smart charging. The results show the acceptance of the top 10 use cases, how customers can best be motivated to participate and how car, charging infrastructure and home can best be integrated into one unit.
The Great Wait for Bidirectional Charging
Those surveyed are very open to grid-friendly charging. A good 30% would rather start today than tomorrow and above all benefit from the cost advantages. However, smart charging will only become really interesting when bidirectional charging comes along and the car can be connected to its own photovoltaic system. In addition to cost advantages, the idea of a self-sufficient power supply is in the foreground. In addition, e-car buyers and owners see the advantage of using their car to store electricity instead of having to purchase expensive stationary battery storage.
On the disadvantage side are high investment costs, unclear technical reliability and many other concerns that must be credibly dispelled by the providers. Car manufacturers must also make it clear how smart charging will affect battery life in the long term.
Special cases: Vehicle-To-Load and Variable Tariffs
In the study, two special cases for grid-supportive and bidirectional charging were also queried. With Vehicle-To-Load (“V2L”), the car battery can be used as a power supply for various applications. Around 50% of those surveyed see Vehicle-To-Load as an attractive option for a wide range of applications.
Variable tariffs are a special tool for grid-friendly charging. The electricity demand can be influenced by the price control of the energy suppliers. For example, demand should be increased when a lot of green electricity is available on sunny or windy days. Despite possible cost advantages, the respondents are rather cautious. The main reason is that electricity tariffs will become even less transparent.
Which incentives work best?
Not all e-car drivers want to contribute to the energy transition with Smart Charging or relieve the power grid. The question of incentives is therefore of great importance. How to increase the added value of grid-friendly and bi-directional charging for the users? The study shows that charging-related incentives are preferred over payback points and other credits. The study also provides answers as to how high the compensation payment or discount must be in order to be attractive.
Car and property interface: who integrates whom?
With smart charging, intelligent charging management forms the interface between the car and the house. For sector coupling, however, both components must be technically integrated. It is therefore unclear which provider will occupy the interface and who will integrate which components. Who do the users trust with the technical integration? Answer of the Smart Charging acceptance study: There is still no provider that the respondents trust to have the technical know-how, the trust in the secure handling of sensitive data and the competence to make everything easy to use. Vehicle manufacturers, energy suppliers, building technology and charging technology providers still have a lot of work ahead of them.
UScale focus studies: User studies on electromobility
Since 2018, UScale has been systematically surveying e-car drivers about their expectations and experiences at all touchpoints of the e-mobile customer journey. For more information on the UScale focus studies, please see HERE.
See the Smart Charging Acceptance Study tuition for more information on the methodology and content.
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