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  • Charging at home with Webasto Next

    Charging an E-Car Differs From Cooking or Listening to Music  

     

    In this interview, our Webasto expert Karl Kolmsee explains the impact of e-mobility on the power grid and how charging electric cars saves us money, helps the environment and changes the way we live.

  • We are used to the fact that electricity is always available and seemingly unlimited. Light and electricity for cooking, washing, and entertainment are there when we want them. But what happens when soon many more electric vehicles (EVs) are on the road, and all charge at the same time at 7 p.m.? Will our power grid collapse then?

    Is the “EV charging peak” comparable to the “roasting peak” from the 1950s? Back then, when electric cooking entered kitchens, the fuses in many places regularly blew at 12 o'clock. The grid was overloaded. Some experts now warn that the grid will collapse as soon as electric vehicles reach a significant market share. Is that true? What impact will e-mobility have on our power grid, and how will it change our lives? We asked Karl Kolmsee, Director Product Portfolio Management at Webasto Customized Solutions.

  • "Charging is decoupled from use."

    Easy Way: Will an increase in e-mobility put such a strain on our power system that we can expect more and more power outages due to overload?

    Karl Kolmsee: On average, a family in Europe consumes 4,000 kilowatt-hours (kWh) of electricity per year. In the USA, the figure is almost 11,000 kWh. Driving an electric car with an annual mileage of 20,000 km results in an additional consumption of 3,000 kilowatt-hours. So it seems to be true that e-mobility will put a strain on the power grid, drive up electricity costs and affect our daily lives — but only if we compare charging e-cars to preparing a Sunday roast. Charging an e-car differs from cooking or listening to music. Charging is decoupled from use; it doesn't have to happen at the same time.

    Easy Way: Batteries are not a Sunday roast that should be eaten as hot as possible. So what does this have to do with our power grid?

    Kolmsee: You can charge the e-car whenever it is possible or unexpensive. The battery should be full enough for a day's drive. In Europe, we assume an average of 65 km per day for mobile full-time employees. With the three-phase connection, this 65 km corresponds to a charging time of less than one hour or a little over 2.5 hours with the simple single-phase household socket. In France or the UK, the electric car is ready to go again in less than 1.5 hours via the 32 A socket.

     

    Smart Charging from Home with Webasto Next Charging your e-car is decoupled from using it. Thus, you can charge whenever it is possible or unexpensive.
  • Scheduled Charging with Webasto Next Charging Station an Home Coordinate your charging times efficiently with smart chargers like the new Webasto Next. 

    Easy Way: Faster charging times give drivers more flexibility to optimise their charging at home. Why should electric car owners pay more attention to charging times?

     

    Kolmsee: In the past, electricity producers used uniform tariffs without further differentiation. In the future, we will see electricity tariffs that are much more responsive to individual consumers, such as charging stations . This means that the cost of charging electric vehicles will go down. For example, you could charge vehicles at night when electricity is abundant and therefore unexpensive, or at midday when photovoltaic systems are feeding more into the grid. This would make the demand for electricity more even over the 24 hours of a day and the grid more stable. We will therefore soon see interesting special tariffs for charging e-cars. However, this will require intelligent chargers like our new Webasto Next,  which can be controlled by users via a backend system. The Webasto Next can be adapted to the circumstances via the backend so that it charges according to a fixed schedule, for example, or according to the availability of electricity.

    Easy Way: What does that look like in practice?

    Kolmsee: The user selects a suitable tariff from an energy supplier and then sets the rules once in the backend of the charging station. As a result, the vehicle charges only at certain times. Even more intelligent are solutions that take into account the available power in the household via dynamic load control. At Webasto, we already offer this to our business customers as well. 

  • "Car batteries will help make our electricity system more efficient."

    Easy Way: How about charging the electric car with electricity from your own PV system. Does that pay off?

    Kolmsee: Charging with electricity from your own PV system is actually the cheapest and most environmentally friendly solution. This would easily reduce the cost of a 100 km car trip to 1.80 euros. At the moment, we are assuming around 4 euros per 100 km in Europe. With our Webasto Next and the Webasto backend,  the electric vehicle will only be able to be charged with the surplus electricity — that is, the PV electricity that is not otherwise used in the household — from the company's own PV system.

    Easy Way: What role will electricity storage, especially car batteries, play in the future to prevent the collapse of the power grid?

    Kolmsee: In the future, car batteries will help make our electricity system more efficient and reduce the cost of high investments in grid infrastructure. There are already e-cars with a so-called bidirectional charging option. This means that car batteries can feed electricity back into the grid — be it the household grid or the public grid. Owners of photovoltaic systems can use their electric vehicle's battery to store electricity generated on a sunny day and use it when needed. Volkswagen wants to use the combined battery capacity of its cars to buffer the public power grid when needed — and also generate additional revenue.

    Easy Way: So you don't see any bottlenecks or power outages in the future because of overloaded grids?

    Kolmsee: Power generation from renewable energy sources reduces the carbon footprint. Soon, the days of standing at gas stations watching the meter relentlessly remind us of increased fuel prices will be over. E-mobility will reduce transportation costs and the cost of power grid infrastructure. This doesn't even consider environmental costs. An important key to the success of the climate and mobility turnaround will be smart charging stations.

     

     
    Charging your Car with Webasto NextThe Webasto Next enables charging your vehicle with only the surplus electricity of your PV.
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    Webasto Live

    Smart, efficient, and connected: With the Webasto Live charging station, you use the opportunities and advantages of the electric mobility optimally. 

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    Webasto Next

    Webasto Next

    Convenient, smart, and remote: Together with its backend Webasto ChargeConnect, the Webasto Next makes charging electric vehicles super easy.

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