Vehicle charging stations, three opportunities to use the Internet of Things

The challenges surrounding the installation of electric vehicle charging stations allow IoT technology to prove useful in terms of robotics, smart grids, and maintenance.

The market for electric car charging stations is growing: As of December 31, 2021, France had 53,667 charging points open to the public, a figure that is 64% more than in 2020, according to the French professional association Avere France, but still far from the target of 100,000 stations set by the government. . Growth is similar in Europe, particularly in Germany where 44,486 conventional charging stations and nearly 8,000 fast charging stations have been installed in 1Verse January 2022. Responding to the challenges of this market is not only a topic of mobility, but also of the Internet of Things, as charging stations open the way to new opportunities.

Primarily in response to installation issues. “The lack of charging stations is a barrier for today’s buyers. So when we talk about future mobility and charging stations, it is about the Internet of Things and more specifically turning stations into autonomous mobile robots,” testifies Manon Lavergne, founder of French electric scooter brand Viluso. . To give the example of Charles’ parking lot, the shipping robot from the Lyon-based startup Mob-Energy, or Mochi, the robot from Envision. This is the option offered by Akeoplus, a French engineering company specializing in 4.0 services and solutions for industry, which was acquired by French car supplier EFI Automotive. “We are developing our IoT expertise to design a prototype charging robot for electric vehicles without wasting energy. Sensors will allow it to locate and optimize its trajectories,” explains Sebastien Vercher, CEO of Akeoplus.

Also way to improve parking spaces. “Due to the Mobility Directive (LOM) in particular, the number of cars and parking spaces are limited in city centres,” recalls Jade Tabet, country director for Targa Telematics in France, a technology supplier to the automotive sector.

IoT at the heart of smart charging

The second major interest in charging stations for the IoT sector: smart charging. It is then a matter of collecting all data of energy consumption and that of uses (time of arrival and departure of personnel, capacities, etc.) in order to avoid peak consumption. For Hanno Clausmayer, director of SAP Labs, convinced in 2014 that electricity was the future of its fleet of vehicles, it was with this use that the Internet of Things took its full value. “We wanted to install 54 charging stations for our 280 electric cars at our Mugens site. And the building consumption, about 80 kilowatts per day. Without the Internet of Things, this wouldn’t be possible.” The loads are dynamically controlled by the software. If the project costs a total of €100,000 to SAP Labs, Hanno Klausmeier says electricity is cheaper over time, with lower maintenance costs.

Cellular Internet of Things technology is also helping to turn vehicles into energy suppliers. In this context, Synox’s IoT platform editor and integration are working with Occitanie’s EDF to make charging stations reversible. “IoT data streams at load levels will be used to manage the vehicle fleet and thus anticipate rotations,” explains Emmanuel Mouton, CEO of Synox. With its digital solution, startup Wise Building, for its part, intends to connect the building and the station. Objective: That the user be able to reserve a charging station when he arrives at work, and after receiving a notification when his vehicle is being recharged, reserve a parking space to free up the station. The solution was developed jointly with the manufacturer ABB, and the solution will be tested in POC at the end of the first half.

With the same goal of getting stations to connect with people to take advantage of the best rates between peak and peak hours, Bouygues Telecom Objenious’s Internet of Things company has teamed up with French operator of smart charging stations Qovoltis. For its part, the German company tado°, which designs smart thermostats and services related to home energy, acquired in January 2022 aWATTar, which provides transmission of electrical loads through an energy tariff based on time of use. Toon Bouten, CEO of tado°, warns that “good coordination saves energy costs, but it is essential to have meters connected and to connect heating and air conditioning systems.”

Intelligent charging requires interoperability between multiple systems. © IoTinks Solutions

Another area of ​​IoT development: predictive maintenance. “Customers want to make sure their stations are operating properly at all times, and they want to be able to monitor them remotely,” recalls Julien Dalmasso, CEO of French Internet of Things publisher IoThink Solutions, which introduced an energy monitoring solution that enables intelligent on-site charging. SAP Labs, which can therefore manage its energy consumption using an Energy Management System (EMS).

The future challenge for IoT players remains interoperability. “Will IoT players succeed in agreeing with electric vehicle suppliers on global charging standards? There are too many types of sockets, power supply systems, software, etc.” , confirms Manon Lavergne. An opinion shared by Julian Dalmaso, at IoThink Solutions. For example, out of 54 terminals installed on site and 90 terminals in the homes of a third of employees, SAP Labs owns 25 different brands of terminals. “We’ve made sure that they all communicate with the OCPP,” notes Hanno-Klausmeyer, however. Representatives are anticipating this next step. Synox has already begun working with manufacturers such as Stellantis and Daimler on the interoperability of ecosystem data.

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