GOTHENBURG: Volvo has announced that it has invested in a company called dcbel, which specialises in smart home energy management.
The aim is to expand the range of alternative energy sources available to the home by, for example, drawing on electricity stored in a car battery.
Rising energy prices and the desire to switch to sustainable energy that is better for the environment are factors that are encouraging households to produce their own electricity.
For instance, there are now easy-to-install solutions for the production and storage of domestic electricity, mainly based on photovoltaic panels.
In addition, car manufacturers are working on bidirectional charging (V2G), a technology that involves using the energy stored in the batteries of electric vehicles (and plug-in hybrids), connected to dedicated terminals, to supply electricity to a nearby house or simply to support the local energy distribution network.
The car then becomes a veritable energy storage unit, made available according to local needs.
However, dcbel has developed an all-in-one home energy station that acts as a solar inverter, a stationary battery and a bidirectional charger for electric vehicles.
In fact, this station converts electricity produced by photovoltaic panels to store it in home batteries, but can also take into account the electricity available in vehicles connected to the network.
The intelligent software that drives the system takes care of using all these alternative energy sources in order to reduce costs and, consequently, the environmental impact of energy use in the home. As an added bonus, homeowners can even be compensated for selling electricity back to the grid.
The interest for Volvo is to be able to offer its customers the opportunity to combine the purchase of one of its cars with a complete and personalized solution for managing domestic energy.
The new Volvo EX90 is the brand's very first model designed for bidirectional charging.
This technology is now favored by many carmakers, but its widespread use will require the implementation of dedicated charging stations that can both recharge a battery and feed energy back into the local power grid as needed.
Manufacturers, meanwhile, will need to make more models compatible with this system.