Sono Motors joins V2G project in Utrecht

17 September 2021

Battery-electric vehicle (BEV) builder Sono Motors is joining a vehicle-to-grid (V2G) project alongside We Drive Solar in Utrecht in the Netherlands. It will provide 100 of its solar-powered Sion vehicles to support the city in its goal of becoming the first metropolitan ecosystem to combine bidirectional charging and car sharing.

Electrically-chargeable vehicles (EVs) keep gaining ground as the age of new internal-combustion engines (ICE) wanes. But this changing of the guard does not come without issues. Not all fleets are going green at the same speed, infrastructure development looks lopsided, and there are questions over how power grids might handle increased demand. While the first two concerns could be dealt with over time with the help of incentives and regulations, the last may need a technological solution.

Bidirectional, or V2G infrastructure, revolves around the idea that EV charging does not have to be a one-way street from the electricity grid to the EV. These vehicles could also support the network by acting as an electricity storage device. EVs can use inexpensive electricity to charge, storing excess power that can be used when prices are higher.

Upgrading Utrecht

The Utrecht project will connect local energy generation and the connected charging capabilities of 500 public bidirectional charging stations. Charged up with sustainable energy, the Sion will also be able to provide power back to the grid from its 54kWh battery.

The BEV is also fitted with integrated solar panels, so its batteries will get a charge away from the intelligent infrastructure. However, when a Sion does plug in, its 11kW discharging power will help reduce grid instabilities. Sono Motors claims the 1.1MW peak power provided by the 100 Sion cars is equivalent to what a large photovoltaic plant the size of roughly two football fields could produce.

‘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. We are proud that the technology we develop is able to facilitate such a ground-breaking project, focusing on clean urban living, smart charging and shared mobility’ said Jona Christians, Sono Motors’ CEO and co-founder.

‘We are very pleased to collaborate with an innovative company like Sono Motors. They are the perfect partner for this venture as they already incorporate the use of solar energy, sharing and bidirectional charging into their product offering’ added Robin Berg, director of We Drive Solar.

The 100-strong Sion fleet will be reserved by We Drive Solar. The aim is to develop the project on a larger scale for other cities and businesses in the Netherlands, and even in other European countries. This would take place in conjunction with the We Drive Solar consortium, which sits at the helm of a growing fleet of shareable EVs. Further deployment in Utrecht is planned, with letters of intent already signed with other major OEMs such as Hyundai and Renault.