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100 solar EVs will boost Utrecht’s vehicle-to-grid charging system

The Dutch city wants to have the world's first bidirectional ecosystem

100 solar EVs will boost Utrecht’s vehicle-to-grid charging system
Ioanna Lykiardopoulou
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Ioanna Lykiardopoulou

Ioanna is a writer at SHIFT. She likes the transition from old to modern, and she's all about shifting perspectives. Ioanna is a writer at SHIFT. She likes the transition from old to modern, and she's all about shifting perspectives.

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Utrecht, the Netherlands’ fourth largest city, is on its way to becoming the first region in the world with a bidirectional ecosystem. How? By using vehicle-to-grid charging(V2G), combined with car sharing. 

Bidirectional V2G charging is an efficient and cheap way to store and use renewable energy. The idea is simple: electricity flows both ways, meaning from the grid to the electric vehicle and vice versa.

Utrecht has already partnered up with We Drive Solar and Hyundai, and now will get a fleet of solar electric vehicles (SEVs) made by Sono Motors.

Under the deal, the Munich-based startup will provide the city with 100 Sion solar cars to support the city’s bidirectional goals. 

Sion solar EV Utrecht V2G.
Credit: Sono Motors
The Sion has a single charge range of 305km — and this can be extended by 112km per week thanks to the vehicle’s 248 integrated solar cells.

Thanks to their V2G capabilities, the Sion SEVs will access Utrecht’s 500 bidirectional chargers and feed energy back to the grid through their 54kWh batteries. 

Specifically, the energy stored in the solar car’s battery can deliver up to 11kW to other electric vehicles, or to homes and the grid via the bidirectional on-board charger. 

Combined, the 100 Sions will be able to provide 1.1 megawatt peak power to the city of Utrecht. According to Sono Motors, this is equivalent to the energy created by a large photovoltaic power plant about the size of two football fields.

With this capacity, the solar car fleet will help reduce grid instabilities and the likelihood of blackouts. 

“This is the perfect project for Sono Motors to further our vision of a world free from fossil fuels as it is a clear demonstration that electric vehicles can support the transition of the energy sector as a whole,” stated Jona Christians, CEO and co-founder of Sono Motors. 

The solar Sions will join We Drive Solar’s car sharing system, which, by early 2022, will have up to 150 bidirectional shared Hyundai Ioniq 5s. 


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