Vattenfall now operates the largest public charging network for electric vehicles in Amsterdam. "Flexpower" also involves the city of Amsterdam, the local network owner Liander, the infrastructure competence centre Elaad and the Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences. Vattenfall has technically upgraded a total of 456 charging stations with 912 charging points - one third of all charging stations for electric cars in the city - and connected them to Flexpower's intelligent charging network.
"Flexpower Amsterdam is an intelligent network of charging stations that enables electric cars to be charged faster when the sun is shining. It mainly uses locally generated renewable electricity from households in the neighbourhood. This reduces the need for investment in the electricity grid and makes the solution a model for many large European cities," says Tomas Björnsson, head of e-mobility at Vattenfall.
As the city of Amsterdam grows, the load on the electricity grid during peak hours in the morning or early evening increases by a factor of 2.5 to 5. Part of this increasing load is caused by charging electric vehicles. Smart charging is therefore needed to reduce the peak load on the grid.
Flexpower is designed to make the most of available grid capacity by matching charging speed to electricity consumption and renewable energy production. The charging stations deliver slightly less electricity during the hours when households need a lot of energy, usually between 6 p.m. and 9 p.m., and more when the energy consumption is low or there is a lot of locally produced solar electricity. Since most electric cars are recharged during off-peak hours, electric car drivers benefit from faster recharging.
Last year, Flexpower was tested at 52 charging stations with 104 charging points. The charging stations were located in districts of Amsterdam where a lot of renewable energy is produced. The capacity of the Flexpower charging stations was increased by 40 percent to allow faster charging at times. A normal charging station supplies 3 x 25 amperes. The Flexpower charging stations can supply 3 x 35 amperes and intelligently distribute these to the connected vehicles. It is possible to charge up to 5 times faster depending on the capacity of the car and battery. The next generation of all-electric cars with larger battery and higher charging speed will benefit the most.
The Flexpower charging stations are set so that they can be controlled on the basis of daily solar energy forecasts and grid loads. The use of energy from the neighbourhood and a flexible charging system help to better distribute the growing demand for electricity.