Solar-powered charging station opened by Honda in Germany

31 May 2017

31 May 2017

Honda on Monday opened what it calls ′Europe’s most advanced public charging station’ in Offenbach in Germany, including a solar panel overhead carport canopy. This is a solution that could help relieve the serious pressures posed by electric vehicles on Europe’s electricity grids. It will soon also be upgraded for hydrogen car refuelling.

The solar cells help the station from overloading the local electricity grid, and the 940V-capable station could even eventually feed excess electricity back on to the local grid, contributing to Germany’s grassroots Energiewende.

Allowing four cars to charge simultaneously up to 150kW, Honda says that this capacity, which has not yet been realised in any released electric vehicles (EVs), means that the power station’s technology is future-proofed for the next generation of cars in the field. It is operated by Honda R&D Europe. Other test projects have also reached a consensus on this as the top expected capacity over the coming years, including Nissan and EVgo’s charging network in the US between Boston and Washington D.C.

Forming part of Honda’s recently launched ′Electric Vision’ electromobility strategy, Honda R&D Europe executive vice president Yasunori Oku said: ′We see Europe and especially Germany as one of the most important regions for expansion and progress in electromobility. Honda R&D Europe is intensifying its research efforts at its Offenbach site and is contributing to the rapid expansion of the public charging infrastructure.’

Honda is about to embark on the next phase of the project, which will add a next-generation hydrogen pump at the station for hydrogen cars. Honda is part of Japan’s national ′hydrogen society’ strategy and the global oil giant-supported Hydrogen Council founded at Davos in January. This hydrogen refuelling will notably be integrated with renewably-sourced hydrogen fuel generation at the same site.

This second phase will also add back-to-grid energy storage capability – a notable development that could help solve energy efficiency problems at the local grassroots level. As renewable energy sources, such as through Germany’s Energiewende, grow in number, Europe’s national energy grids are becoming more dependent on highly variable energy sources such as wind and solar – so power generation does not match demand. National-level energy storage is rarely technically possible, so  local energy storage schemes, such as at future charging stations, could solve a crucial problem to ensure efficient use of the energy sources of the future.

The station is part of Honda’s ambitious strategy to massively boost its electrification efforts so that two thirds of its vehicles sold in Europe by just 2025 are electrified. This project involves developing and launching many more hybrid, plug-in hybrid, all-electric and hydrogen vehicles during this timeframe.

Honda considers Europe to be at the forefront of its global electrified vehicle strategy.

Photograph courtesy of Honda


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