Using electric vehicles to store peak production of renewable energy is fast making the Netherlands the international frontrunner for smart charging EVs, claim supporters of the so called Living Lab for Smart Charging.

The lab consists of 325 municipalities (including Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Utrecht and The Hague), accounting for 80% of all public charging stations, and supported by the Dutch government. 

Some organisations behind private and semi-private charging stations such as The New Motion and EV-Box have joined.

"Very soon all Dutch charging stations will be open for tests and research projects," the lab said in a statement without elaborating on timing.

The Living Lab Smart Charging is an open platform where companies (from multinationals to small tech start-ups, both national and international), universities, local and regional governments and grid operators cooperate.

The three-step programme is:

  • Make as many charging stations ready for Smart Charging. A huge upgrade operation is now taking place across the country making sure the existing charging stations will be able to technically facilitate Smart Charging. All new stations already are Smart Charging Ready, such as the 2.500 new charging points being rolled out by the Southern provinces of Noord-Brabant and Limburg.
  • Use those innovative stations for research and testing of Smart Charging. For example, there's an app which allows users to earn money by using technology to charge the car in the middle of the night when the wind is still producing power but there is little demand for it. In Utrecht 'vehicle to grid' is being tested together with Renault: charging the electric car with solar panels and using it as storage to put power back into the grid when the sun is no longer shining.
  • Putting all innovation, tests and research findings into international standards.

The ultimate goal is all electric cars driving on solar or wind power.