Integration of electric vehicles in the energy System

Challenges of a cross-industry consortium project – Contribution to the 17th MTZ Congress Berlin

The 17th MTZ Congress “Drives and Energy Systems of Tomorrow 2023” was held from 28th to 29th  March 2023 in Berlin. One focus of the conference with 130 participants from eight countries was the topic electromobility. FfE presented findings on the requirements of grid and system integration of electric vehicles. In the paper entitled “Adressing the challenges of a cross-industry consortium project on the integration of electric vehicles in the energy system”, special features of the methodology of the unIT-e² project are highlighted and the approach to integrating electric vehicles into the energy system in Germany is examined in an international comparison.

Realisation of interdisciplinary and international product development

To be able to develop solutions for the grid and system integration of electric vehicles, the different goals and requirements of the automotive and energy sectors must be taken into account. Therefore, the living lab unIT-e² links science and industry. A consortium of 29 partners is testing concepts in field tests and further possibilities for large-scale implementation are investigated by the scientific supervision. The cross-sector consortium poses many challenges, such as coordinating the large number of participants, the different fields of activity of the partners, as well as the complexity and dynamics of the environment. Therefore, sub-projects were delineated, a uniform methodology for field tests was developed and applied, and an ongoing cross-sectoral knowledge transfer was facilitated.

Figure 1: Steps to integrate electric vehicles in the energy system

Part of the project is the investigation of possibilities to implement the developed concepts outside Germany and Europe. Therefore, steps for the grid and system integration of electric vehicles were defined (see Figure 1) and the framework conditions for their implementation in European countries were analysed and compared. The progress of the smart meter rollout, the tariff regulations for grid charges, systems for the provision of system services and market designs were examined.

Integration of electric vehicles in the energy system in an international context

The result of the analysis of the framework conditions is that the prerequisites for the grid and system integration of electric vehicles into the energy system are heterogeneous. The smart meter rollout is at different stages of progress in the European countries and the range of functions differs. Furthermore, depending on the country and also the grid operator, grid charges are calculated on a capacity-based, time-differentiated or volumetric basis. In addition, regional conditions and prequalification requirements for frequency regulation and congestion management differ. The comparison of the market designs shows that spot markets have the most in common between the countries considered and differences exist mainly between balancing energy markets. The deviations from the German market design, as shown in Figure 2, are pronounced to different degrees.

Figure 2: Deviation in comparison to German market design [1]

In conclusion, it can be said that use cases for electric vehicles that are independent of national regulations are likely to be implemented globally soon. For the implementation of further use cases, international exchange and standardisation is necessary. In its further course, the unIT‑e² project is striving for exchange with standardisation bodies and shows that a uniform project structure and approach are important elements for developing interdisciplinary innovations in the context of electromobility.

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[1] Kirstin Ganz et.al., Comparison of European electricity market designs, 6th European Grid Services Market Symposium, July 2022, KKL Lucerne Switzerland.