We Drive Solar and MyWheels are working together to provide the residents of Utrecht in the Netherlands with mobile bidirectional charging technology. The partnership will make We Drive Solar’s bidirectional charging technology available through MyWheels’ fleet of shared cars.
The project will allow the shared electric cars to both charge and discharge bidirectionally and thus act as an energy storage facility for the neighborhood. The charging stations use solar and wind energy to charge the shared cars, which can then feed excess energy back to the grid when there is more demand.
In 2021, when project studies were underway, the University of Utrecht estimated that around 10,000 EVs with bidirectional charging would be enough to balance the city’s entire electricity demand. That’s less than 10% of the current number of cars in the city.
“We see two megatrends: enormous growth of renewable energy generation, and at the same time, an enormous growth of the number of electric cars coming to the market and being rolled out,” sais Robin Berg, the Director of We Drive Solar, which is building and managing a new network of bidirectional chargers. “For the energy transition to be effective without a huge investment by grid operators and other storage facilities, the way forward is to combine those two trends, and to enable the batteries and cars to be a buffer for renewable energy to balance the system.”
The city expects to see approximately 300 station-based electric shared cars from MyWheels connected to We Drive Solar charging stations by the end of 2023. The companies’ aim to work together to scale that number up substantially in the coming years, including beyond Utrecht.
“We are building The People’s Powerplant – an energy system in which we store the energy we generate ourselves and share it with our locality or neighbors. This is how we accelerate the energy transition and keep it affordable for everyone,” says Henri de Jong, CEO of The Sharing Group, which includes MyWheels.