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Key lessons on the smart charging ecosystem – Webinar 1

The first webinar of the “SCALE Summer Sessions” was held on Thursday, 6 July and looked into “the smart charging ecosystem: who is who? What are their drivers and barriers?”.

This webinar was hosted by POLIS and moderated by Edwin Bestebreurtje from FIER Sustainable Mobility, experts on the charging infrastructure field and a key consortium member.

Marisca Zweistra from ElaadNL, SCALE’s project coordinating organisation and co-author of the Stakeholder Analysis, presented key findings from the publication and research which mapped out the extensive list of stakeholders and key players in the smart charging ecosystem. She was then joined in a panel discussion by Frank Geerts (ElaadNL) and Willem Christiaens (FIER Sustainable Mobility).

Key findings and discussion points:

    • Start from the users because creating a user-centric smart charging system which incorporates their needs is essential for them to accept smart charging protocols and incentives. EVs present a huge opportunity for users to participate in electricity markets and they should be able to easily react to price and sustainable incentives. 

    • Everyone must be on board, and they are highly interconnected: regulators and public authorities, knowledge partners, DSO and TSO, flexibility service providers, OEMs, CPOs… they all have a role to play and their needs, challenges, processes and roles are linked together. Smart and V2X charging requires robust cooperation of the whole value chain (or it simply won’t happen): it really is an ecosystem!

    • Data availability is key to controlling and deploying smart charging (e.g. knowing when cars will charge, the state of charge of the batteries, how many vehicles will be charging, how the drivers will react, etc.). Drivers already have access to some of this data, but they do not have the processes or incentives to share it with the charging ecosystem.

    • A European regulatory framework would (really) help create interoperable and common protocols for smart charging, as well as create a shared understanding of what is and falls under smart charging and V2X among all Member States.

    • Suppliers and aggregators are facing difficulties in bringing smart charging a step further. There have been many pilots, insights, research exercises and tests that have proved the value of smart charging. However, how to offer a fair balance between flexibility and compensation is tricky. Users, OEMs, CPOs and other stakeholders need to all have incentives to participate in smart charging and V2X markets.

    • Many EVs (electric vehicles) are needed to make a difference. To tap into flexible markets and ensure the e-mobility sector can support the grid, a big volume of EVs is needed, and it is not the case in Europe yet. At the same time, grids are already facing congestion. Understanding and deploying smart charging must start now, but pilots are still relatively small and do not have a significant impact. It is a chicken and egg problem: legislators are not making significant progress in congestion management schemes and as a result, OEMs are not really interested in smart charging and V2X.

    • Pilots are important to bring stakeholders together, and SCALE is doing just that! SCALE has 13 pilots in 7 European contexts with a consortium of 29 partners that represent the full value chain of smart charging and V2X. They are testing a range of energy services including optimisation behind the meter, grid-related services, congestion management, etc. Through the pilots, the consortium is identifying problems in smart charging deployment, and finding solutions. For example:
      • The use cases require a lot of data exchange and each stakeholder owns a component of these sets. The ecosystem needs to be well consolidated for these exchanges to happen, which are based on existing protocols. However, these protocols are insufficient (e.g. communicating between the vehicle, charging point and CPO). New standards are essential (e.g. ISO 15118-20 and the latest OCPP), but they require a lot of work and development efforts by all stakeholders. 
      • In regard to regulation, SCALE use cases have encountered challenges with grid code compliance: every generator that provides electricity into the grid must comply with standards that are unique to each country. However, with smart charging, vehicles may travel between countries, and they must be able to comply with different grid codes. This is an identified regulatory gap in the grid codes.

An audience of 65 people attended the webinar and had the opportunity to engage in lively discussions. For a full recording of the webinar, please follow SCALE’s YouTube channel by clicking on this link.

If you want to know more about the work showcased in this webinar, please see our ‘Resources’ section, where you can find our Stakeholder Analysis, as well as the short read version.