Audi Launches Smart Network Pilot Project

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As part of a research project, Audi is running a pilot project in Europe.

This involves selecting a number of households to participate and combining various sizes of photovoltaic systems with stationary storage batteries.

The control software by the Zurich start-up company Ampard distributes the solar power intelligently based on the current or plannable demand from car, household and heating system. A unique feature of the pilot project is that it also interacts with the power grid: Over a built-in communication interface, all systems are interconnected to form a virtual power plant, and constitute a smart grid.

The connected home storage devices can provide what is known as balancing power. The aim is to balance out the fluctuations between power generation and consumption, and stabilize the grid frequency by temporarily storing smaller amounts of energy in stationary units at short notice.

The aim is to optimize consumption since operators of photovoltaic systems increase their proportion of own-use solar power while cutting their power procurement costs.

“We are looking at electric mobility in the context of an overall energy supply system that is increasingly based on renewables,” remarked Dr. Hagen Seifert, Head of Sustainable Product Concepts at Audi. “We are playing a pioneering role with the pre-qualification of the balancing-power market—enabling producers to feed power into the grid, as part of the pilot project. This is now also possible for individual households, which helps balance the entire power grid.”

As part of its quest for emission-free premium mobility, Audi is also looking at services that extend beyond the automobile as a product. One important aspect is seen as the interrelationship between all those areas of life where the car theoretically meshes seamlessly with a connected environment. There is particular focus on services that involve interaction between car and environment.

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