The coronavirus pandemic has not stopped Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) and ENGIE EPS’ joint commitment to promoting electromobility. Both companies are working together on a project that aims at an intelligent charging infrastructure for an interaction between electric vehicles and the public power grid in Italy, in the technical term Vehicle-to-Grid (V2G). The project complements an agreement that FCA signed with Italian energy company Terna in September 2019.
In full compliance with the current safety regulations for coronavirus containment, work has now started on the first phase of the V2G pilot project at the FCA Mirafiori plant in Turin. When completed, this facility will be the largest of its kind in the world.
The interaction with the purely electrically powered vehicle models from FCA is intended to stabilize the power grid. The energy stored in the batteries of parked vehicles is made available to the public grid at short notice. In this way, the operating costs of the vehicles can be optimized – for the benefit of the owners – and at the same time a more sustainable electricity system can be implemented.
The need for V2G technology and similar systems is expected to increase significantly in the future. On the one hand, the development of renewable electricity sources can be promoted in which the energy generation is not programmable due to the concept. On the other hand, the increasing spread of electric vehicles and the associated increased need for charging current could at least temporarily destabilize public networks. The solution to the conflict between energy demand and production is an intelligent infrastructure that includes, for example, the battery management of electric cars in real time. The system being developed at the FCA Mirafiori plant could thus be a key element for the balance in the power grid.
Vehicle-to-grid technology is one of the strongest incentives for the further spread of sustainable electromobility. V2G is an important pillar of a rapid energy transition that makes electromobility accessible to everyone and thus contributes to a reduction in CO2 emissions. V2G not only increases the sustainability of the electricity infrastructure, it also increases its security and reliability.
Phase 1 of the construction work for the V2G project has now started in the Drosso logistics center within the Mirafiori complex. It covers an area of around 3,000 square meters with trenches already dug out over 450 meters in length, in which more than 10 kilometers of cable are ultimately laid. 64 two-way quick-charging stations with an output of up to 50 kilowatts each are planned. The centralized infrastructure and the advanced control system, which in addition to the charging function for electric vehicles also provide the network services for vehicle-to-grid technology, were developed, patented and built by ENGIE EPS.
In phase 1 of the project, 32 V2G columns for up to 64 electric vehicles will initially be installed. Completion is scheduled for July 2020. By the end of 2021, the infrastructure will be expanded to up to 700 electric vehicles. They can be charged via the columns and, in return, provide the grid operator with certain grid services.
In its final configuration, the plant is designed to provide a regulatory capacity of up to 25 megawatts. This would make the V2G system in Mirafiori the largest in the world. By combining it with other projects within the traditional Turin factory – for example with the five megawatt solar power system on the site – the new V2G infrastructure becomes a virtual power plant. The system, the most innovative of its kind in Italy, will not only be able to achieve a high level of resource optimization with the capacity for the equivalent of 8,500 households. At the same time, the project offers network operators a wide range of services, including ultra-fast regulation of the power frequency.
“The project is our laboratory to experiment and develop a value-added offer in the energy markets,” said Roberto Di Stefano, Head of EMEA E-Mobility at FCA. “On average, cars go unused 80 to 90 percent of the day. During this long period of time, if customers connect their vehicle to the public grid using vehicle-to-grid technology, they can receive financial compensation or free energy in return for the buffer service provided. Your individual mobility needs are not affected in any way. This project is part of an extensive technology cooperation between ENGIE EPS and FCA that has existed since 2016. The main goal of this partnership is to reduce the total cost of FCA electric vehicles by offering
“In this time of forced standstill in Italy, we are working with FCA to further expand the country’s future. We develop the technology that the power grid needs to support the operation of electric cars. At the same time, the project will also contribute to the general stabilization of the power grid, ”said Carlalberto Guglielminotti, CEO of ENGIE EPS. “Projections assume that the total storage capacity of batteries in electric vehicles across Europe will be 300 gigawatt hours in 2025. That would be the largest decentralized resource that could be available to the European energy system. The vehicle-to-grid infrastructure, which until now has consisted almost entirely of experimental projects, is now ready for the next step. The project at the FCA Mirafiori plant gives the starting signal. We are confident that further solutions for the vehicle fleets of all companies will be added soon.”
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) is a global automaker that designs, builds, manufactures and sells vehicles from major brands including Abarth, Alfa Romeo, Chrysler, Dodge, Fiat, Fiat Professional, Jeep® , Lancia, Ram and Maserati. FCA also sells spare parts and services for the Mopar® brand and is also active in the areas of industrial automation and component manufacturing with the Comau and Teksid brands. FCA has around 200,000 employees worldwide.
About ENGIE EPS
ENGIE EPS is the industrial arm of the ENGIE group, developing technologies to revolutionize the paradigm in the global energy system, aiming at renewable energy sources and electric mobility. Listed in Paris on the Euronext regulated market (EPS: FP), ENGIE EPS forms part of the CAC Mid & Small and CAC All-Tradable financial indices. It has its headquarters in Paris, with research, development and production located in Italy.
ENGIE is a global group at the forefront of energy and services with a low environmental impact. To deal with the climate emergency, their goal is to become the global leader in the transition to zero emissions “as-a-service” for clients, especially businesses and local government. With 170,000 employees, they team up with their clients, partners and stakeholders, in a community of Imaginative Builders, all committed to better-balanced progress on a daily basis. 2019 turnover: €60.1 billion. Listed in Paris and Brussels (ENGI), the Group is represented on the main financial (CAC 40, DJ Euro Stoxx 50, Euronext 100, FTSE Eurotop 100, MSCI Europe) and non-financial indices (DJSI World, DJSI Europe and Euronext Vigeo Eiris – World).