How solar panels are being used to make smart charging even smarter

6 days ago

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It has been cool to be green for quite some time now, especially in the car world. Owning an electric car will now be met with a respectful nod when once there was ridicule and doubt, and placing the word ‘smart’ in front of any usually normal function these days suddenly gives it a whole new level of intrigue from tech nerds and those seeking an eco-friendly future.

In the electric car industry, manufacturers are constantly looking for ways to make their cars as green as possible, further amping up the pressure on the quickly stagnating world of internal combustion. The latest trend is ‘smart charging’, and the engineers at Audi have explored the world of solar energy to make it happen.

Not only will you just plug in your new e-tron when you get home from work, you can schedule exactly when you want the car to be charging, with the aim being to avoid peak times when the price of energy is at a high while also making sure that your vehicle is ready and fully-charged when you’re next ready to set off.

On top of that, Audi has been working with the Hager Group and SMA Solar Technology to utilise home solar panel systems to maximise charging efficiency.

The onboard smart charging systems that the e-tron possesses will check weather forecasts to find the most efficient times to use solar panels instead of energy straight from the grid. Get a full Home Energy Management System (HEMS) at your house and you’ll be maximising the intelligence of Audi’s first all-electric SUV.

The intelligent charging system will also identify when the car may be taking too much power from the household and adjust accordingly to solar input instead, avoiding potential black-outs or triggering fuses within the household.

On the flip side, if you yearn for faster charging times than the normal 11kW system, the e-tron has the option to double its power input via a 22kW home charging system using a second onboard charger.

So not only will you be saving money by dodging the peak energy rates, you will be relying less and less on the grid to charge your car by utilising what is essentially an endless energy source. Win-win, right?

Well you’ll have to be ahead of most EV owners in terms of the tech you have at home, as you’ll need to HEMS-upgrade your crib with a lovely set of solar panels along with the specific charging equipment. Once installed however, the miniature home infrastructure will be backed up by cutting-edge tech that Audi seems to pull out of the bag time and time again.

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