[Series 3/6] Mobility and electric vehicles in smart buildings

New uses are on the rise in buildings, such as integrating charging infrastructures for electric vehicles and producing solar power. The combination of these two technologies is valuable in decarbonising mobility, by using locally-generated electricity. The addition of stationary storage, connected to the installation, offers some attractive use cases.

Reducing energy consumption in buildings is an absolute priority that goes hand in hand with the rise in new electricity uses, particularly vehicles and their charging infrastructure (EVCI). The European Commission is encouraging the development of these new technologies, particularly electric mobility, with a ban on the sale of new internal combustion engine cars in 2035. This measure, an integral part of the European Green Deal, aims to contribute to Europe’s carbon neutrality by 2050.


Preparing for the arrival of new uses

These new uses will produce a very significant increase in electricity demand in the coming years. It is thus essential to drastically reduce consumption in buildings, which currently accounts for 43% of final energy consumption in France and 40% in Europe as a whole. The potential is therefore enormous: buildings are the easiest entry point for making rapid gains, notably by implementing energy management solutions, or for producing low-carbon electricity by integrating a solar power installation.


The consumption impact of installing an EVCI

The arrival of electric vehicles in buildings impacts the electrical installation, significantly increasing the amount of energy consumed. According to an Enedis study on the charging habits of electric vehicle users, 92% of owners live in single-family homes, 8% live in multi-family residences and 85% of charging takes place at home. According to a survey of 70 equipped households by the charging point installer ChargeGuru, this represents a 21% average increase in the amount of electricity consumed by a household.


Electric vehicles and solar power generation: a winning combination

The development of charging technologies and, more specifically, the bidirectionality of batteries – or V2B (Vehicle2Building) – means that when connected to its charging point, an electric vehicle can be used as a battery for the building. The energy produced by the solar panels during the day is channelled, as required, either directly into the building, into the electric vehicle’s battery or into a stationary storage solution integrated into the building in cabinets. This electricity can then be provided in the evening, first from the storage cabinet, then from the vehicle. If the vehicle’s battery has been used up, it can then top up at night, when electricity is cheapest.

To optimise the installation’s operation, an Energy Management System (EMS) is essential, as the software automatically sends the energy produced by the solar panels to the right place, whether that’s the building, the vehicle or the battery cabinet. This solution allows consumption to be shifted in relation to solar production, so that all the electricity produced can be used.

On a grid scale, the rise of electric vehicles can represent an opportunity, as the increase in the number of vehicles means that a substantial storage solution can be provided to relieve the electricity system during consumption peaks. This is known as V2G (Vehicle2Grid). This is a major benefit, given that intermittent renewable energy production is becoming more common on the grid.