With the rising number of electric vehicles (EVs), demand for charging infrastructure is also skyrocketing. As EV charging places extra pressure on the grid, energy companies are looking for innovative solutions to optimise their existing connections and charge more EVs simultaneously.
The utility provider ENGIE has set up a living lab at its office in Dordrecht, the Netherlands, to test how the grid can respond to the increasing electrification of light-duty vehicles. They collaborate with GreenFlux to improve EV charging efficiency while avoiding costly grid upgrades.
Managing multiple charge station types
ENGIE’s charging plaza in Dordrecht consists of eight double-socket charge stations from four different brands (EVBox, Alfen, Ecotap and Smappee), all operating on the same grid connection. As each brand uses proprietary technology, ranging from local ethernet connections and RS485 to custom communication protocols, local smart charging does not work.
Therefore, ENGIE is testing whether charge stations from different manufacturers can be grouped on a single connection and optimised using cloud-based smart charging technology.
Cloud-based smart charging
GreenFlux’s technology can manage any charge station with an internet connection that communicates via the Open Charge Point Protocol (OCPP). The company's platform automatically adjusts charging rates, ensuring demand is kept under the local maximum electricity capacity and EV charging can be optimised based on driver preferences and battery needs.
The platform also uses data collected from a local submeter to detect the topology of a location and understand the exact phase to which an EV is charged. This means unused capacity is allocated to other EVs, allowing more cars to be charged simultaneously. Charging speeds are also adjusted in real-time based on the office building’s consumption.
Future-proof charging networks to accelerate the electrification of fleets
Testing the solution under rigorous conditions is critical for ENGIE to offer the best possible services to its B2B customers. The living lab shows that they can provide a great charging experience to customers, and make locations flexible, scalable and future proof.
ENGIE already implemented two successful load-balancing applications at another ENGIE location in Bunnik and a customer location in Venlo. Using smart charging technology provided by GreenFlux, ENGIE can install up to 20 times more charge stations in each location. Smart charging allows the company to make the most of its existing infrastructure and accelerate the electrification of its own and its customer’s fleets. Read more about ENGIE’s Living Lab.