In the Netherlands, the inhabitants of Utrecht are using solar power to drive, thanks to the We Drive Solar carsharing service. This pilot programme makes electric vehicles contributors to the development of an intelligent ecosystem that favours renewable energy sources. Its director, Robin Berg, tells us more for our series The Drive To Better.
Madrid, Berlin, Copenhagen, Bologna, Stockholm, Oslo, London and Paris: carsharing services are multiplying across Europe, in response to the challenges of finding environmentally conscious forms of urban mobility.
Launched in 2017 in the Lombok eco-district in Utrecht, the Netherlands, the We Drive Solar carsharing service has something that makes it stand out from the rest. Its Renault ZOEs recharge at stations powered by solar energy from the photovoltaic panels placed on the roofs of surrounding buildings.
An electric vehicle pioneer and leader in Europe, Groupe Renault took part in this project, of course, alongside LomboXnet, the start up behind this initiative. Its first step was to deploy a fleet of self-service ZOEs, all equipped with a smart charging system.
Smart charging makes it possible to trigger a vehicle’s charge cycle when renewable energy production is abundant or when the grid has excess capacity. That makes it a good way for the user to enjoy both green and cheap energy.
A new milestone was reached in March 2019, when prototypes compatible with two-way charging were put into circulation. With V2G (vehicle-to-Grid) technology, the battery of an electric vehicle is used to store the electricity produced by a renewable energy source—from the sun in the case of the We Drive Solar project—when it is plentiful, and to reinject it into the grid during spikes in consumption.
By acting as temporary storage units, these prototypes make it possible to stabilise and optimise the use of renewable energy sources, help to solve air quality issues and promote a sustainable energy transition.
The city of Utrecht and the island of Porto Santo, in Portugal, are the first sites for the testing of two-way charging in real conditions. Other experiments will follow in France, Germany, Switzerland, Sweden and Denmark, in order to assess the feasibility of scaling up from there.
This revolution was made possible by the close collaboration between Groupe Renault, local governments, energy suppliers and of course startups like LomboXnet with their many crucial innovations. New mobilities, new partnerships!
Copyright : Renault Communication, Renault Netherlands
Cities & planning