Press Release – Dutch Ministerial Visit of an Energy-balancing Mobility Hub in Utrecht (We Drive Solar)

How exactly can electric vehicles be the solution to overloading the grid? The new sustainable residential area Wisselspoor in Utrecht is finding out!

On 24 May, Minister Hugo de Jonge and State Secretary Vivianne Heijnen, led by alderman Eelco Eerenberg, visited an energy-balancing mobility hub in sustainable residential area Wisselspoor. In this neighbourhood, sustainable mobility, a mixed commuting area, a car-free living environment and energy transition come together. A large local solar energy system charges bi-directional electric cars with sustainable solar energy. The vehicles can feed back electricity to the grid to balance and help supply electricity to the district. Use of space for parking is also reduced by deploying 100% electric shared mobility.

The Utrecht Bidirectional Ecosystem, of which Wisselspoor is part, is a prominent SCALE Use Case to be developed and scaled up. Vehicle-to-Grid technology in Utrecht has reached a unique scale and is a driver for technological and institutional innovations that SCALE is developing. The Wisselspoor location, a sustainable housing development with shared V2G EVs as part of the proposition to the new inhabitants, offers the opportunity to integrate V2G technology, sustainable mobility and sustainable housing into one integrated concept.

A New Innovative Neighbourhood

Grid congestion, or overloading of the electricity grid, is a growing problem in the Netherlands. Due to the strong growth of electric vehicles, solar panel generation and all electric housing districts, new neighbourhoods can only be connected to the grid to a limited extent. Wisselspoor is a new district for living and working in the heart of Utrecht, built on a former Dutch Railways (NS) industrial site. The sustainable district will eventually grow to around 1,200 homes, the first 122 of which have been delivered.

In the first subarea of Wisselspoor, the results of the “City Deal electric shared mobility” are visible. In this housing development project, bi-directional electric shared cars are in use by residents, which can both charge and supply energy back (vehicle-to-grid). Wisselspoor subarea 1 was developed by Synchroon, in partnership with the municipality of Utrecht and NS Stations, Studioninedots and Delva Landscape Architecture.

“In Wisselspoor, we show that with electric shared cars you can reduce car ownership, requiring less space for parking. At the same time, we deploy these cars as a buffer for solar and wind energy. In doing so, we contribute to accelerating the transition to a 100% sustainable energy system.” – Robin Berg (We Drive Solar)

Towards a solution to grid congestion

The central car park in Wisselspoor subarea one offers a unique opportunity to investigate the role of bi-directional charging to enable all-electric districts to be connected to the electricity grid even when the grid is already experiencing congestion. The district already has a large solar energy system on the roofs of the houses and the mobility hub, where there is a bi-directional charging system for both shared cars from We Drive Solar and residents’ own cars.

For more information contact: Robin Berg, We Drive Solar (

Snapshot Interview: a deep stakeholder analysis of the smart charging ecosystem

Within SCALE, Sander Langenhuizen, Hanna van Sambeek, Marisca Zweistra (ElaadNL), Sascha van der Wilt and Willem Christiaens (FIER Automotive & Mobility) published a thorough stakeholder analysis of the smart charging ecosystem. It highlights the diversity in needs and barriers of each stakeholder in the smart charging sector, as well as their interdependencies and the need to create robust synergies.

We did a short interview to hear more about their work.

Estimated reading time: 3 min 
1. What is required to create a more flexible and interoperable charging system in Europe? 

It is important to combat the chicken-and-egg issue of smart charging and V2X. Manufacturers of EVs and charging stations are still hesitant to invest in smart mobility solutions, most notably Vehicle-to-Grid. Uncertainties on future demand by EV drivers for V2X services and unclear and fragmented legislation across Member States negatively impact the business case for manufacturers. Increasing public awareness of these smart solutions is key in helping manufacturers build a sustainable business case.

Furthermore, the European Union should build a clear framework for smart charging and V2X by defining when an EV or charging station can be considered ‘smart charging ready’ or ‘V2X ready’.  

Flexible markets should be developed further to allow easier access of small assets like EVs. Formal access has been possible since the introduction of the aggregator role in European legislation, but there are still some major steps that need to be taken in terms of market development. For instance, prequalification procedures to access flexibility markets should be simplified in order to alleviate the administrative burden of aggregators. Giving EV drivers access to proprietary EV data is another important step that needs to be taken. 

2. What is the role of the EU in facilitating these? Any strategies, policies, principles etc.? 

The energy system has changed drastically in recent years as a result of the electrification of industrial sectors and the growth of decentralised production. The EU should take these developments into consideration in their policy framework. Most notably in the context of V2X is the incorporation of energy storage in new EU legislation, such as the European grid codes. The EU can play a key role in mitigating the chicken-and-egg issue by investigating and implementing policies such as tax breaks for EVs capable of V2X. Again, defining ‘V2X ready’ is a crucial first step the EU needs to take. 

The deployment of smart charging and V2X requires the collection, management, and sharing of personal data. The EU should therefore pay particular attention to the core principles of data protection, privacy, and cybersecurity when further developing its policy framework. Finding the right balance between policies on data security (such as the General Data Protection Regulation and the ‘right to be forgotten’) on the one hand, and policies aimed at optimising e-mobility services should remain a main consideration of the EU. 

3. How can SCALE use these lessons in its 13 use cases?

There is a multitude of solutions that can be implemented to accelerate flexibility in market development. Determining which solution is the most optimal for unlocking the flexibility of EVs can best be done by testing them in practice.

SCALE’s use cases give us the perfect opportunity to test new policy propositions. The project’s high number of use cases makes it possible to test multiple solutions simultaneously and compare the results of the pilots more easily. 

The SCALE partners are using the lessons from the stakeholder analysis to set up the use cases. Through the stakeholder analysis, the entire value chain can more easily be considered, ultimately leading to more successful smart charging and V2X solutions.

Both a thorough and short read of the document are available in the publications section of our website (see D1.2).

SCALE – Press Release

SCALE – Smart Charging Alignment for Europe – is a three-year Horizon Europe project that explores and tests smart charging solutions for electric vehicles (EV).  

SCALE is a new Horizon Europe project that kicked off in June 2022. Leading European cities, universities and knowledge partners, networks, and energy and electric vehicle (EV) industry pioneers joined forces to explore and test smart EV charging and Vehicle-2-Everything (V2X) solutions. The project will support the transition towards a new energy ecosystem wherein the flexibility that EV batteries offer will be harnessed for the first time.

SCALE is a 3-year project co-funded by the new Horizon Europe Programme with a budget of ca. €10 million. 

SCALE contributes to the European Partnership “Towards zero-emission road transport” (2ZERO). The uptake of EVs in a mass-deployment scenario, coupled with the flexibility of renewable energy generation, could form the basis of a decentralised power system simultaneously decarbonising both transport and energy sectors.  

In Europe, the mass deployment of electric vehicles is driven by the EU Smart Mobility strategy, EU Green Deal and the interim Fitfor55 Package, all aiming for a climate-neutral Europe. An increase in EV sales significantly impacts energy demand and the power system which leads to the need for implementing smart and digitally controlled charging systems and preparing energy networks to utilise the surplus energy stored in EV batteries through state-of-the-art V2X technologies. In fact, mass-deployable innovations to seamlessly integrate EVs into the power system will increase energy efficiency and the share of renewable energy in households, neighbourhoods, industries, cities and regions. This would have a particularly high impact on reducing carbon emissions.  

SCALE’s different V2X solutions and innovations will be systematically tested, validated and deployed across various demonstration sites and use cases in Europe, thus, being globally the first-of-its-kind attempt at this scale. 

SCALE’s strategic objective is to create an open system solution, deploying a user-centric approach, thus reducing the need for power grid reinforcement investments through smart charging and V2X solutions. 

SCALE paves the way to achieving the Fitfor55 goals. The project will test and validate a variety of smart charging and V2X solutions and services in 13 use cases in real-life demonstrations in 7 European contexts: Oslo (NO), Rotterdam/Utrecht (NL), Eindhoven (NL), Toulouse (FR), Greater Munich Area (DE), Budapest/Debrecen (HU) and Gothenburg (SE).

The project sees charging solutions as a continuum of a) unidirectional static, b) dynamic & c) bidirectional charging with the latter two charging concepts moving beyond state-of-the-art technology and offering a systemic solution. Project results, best practices, and lessons learned will be transferred across EU cities & regions, as well as relevant e-mobility stakeholders. SCALE aims to create a system blueprint for user-centric smart charging & V2X for European cities & regions. 

The consortium comprises 29 cutting-edge European stakeholders covering the entire smart charging and V2X value chain (equipment and charging manufacturers, flexibility service providers, research and knowledge partners, public authorities, consumer associations, etc.). It is led by ElaadNL, one of the world’s leading knowledge and innovation centres in smart charging and charging infrastructure. 

Quick facts
  • SCALE is funded by the European Union Horizon Europe Research and Innovation Programme, GA number: 101056874 
  • Duration: 1 June 2022 – 31 May 2025 
  • Pilot sites: Oslo (NO), Rotterdam/Utrecht (NL), Eindhoven (NL), Toulouse (FR), Greater Munich Area (GER), Budapest/Debrecen (HU), Gothenburg (SE)