Today, Energy Web Foundation, Berlin, Germany, and Volkswagen Group Innovation, the research department of one of the world’s leading automobile manufacturers, Volkswagen Group, Wolfsburg, Germany, announced a partnership to investigate digitalization and integration of electric vehicles (EVs) and charging infrastructure in support of advanced electric vehicle charging programs and markets globally. Under the partnership, Volkswagen Group Innovation and Energy Web will jointly develop and test open-source software to enable seamless end-to-end electricity market participation for electric vehicles. The test will pair Energy Web’s open-source tech stack with existing EV charging standards, including the ISO 15118 Plug & Charge standard in combination with the PKI of Electrify America, Reston, Virginia, United States, one of the world’s largest EV charging networks.
EVs are known for their powertrain efficiency, lack of tailpipe emissions, and ability to run on carbon-free renewable energy, making them a crucial component for decarbonizing the transportation sector. But they can also add tremendous value to low-carbon energy systems. With digital infrastructure in place, grid operators can use EVs to avoid electricity network congestion, absorb greater amounts of renewable energy, and increase the resilience of electricity networks. The market for electric vehicles to provide such services is slowly maturing, with regulators increasingly requiring customer-owned resources be allowed to compete in electricity markets on equal footing with traditional centrally managed and controlled thermal power plants.
“With this partnership, we want to accelerate electric mobility and deliver even more value to EV customers,” explained Jesse Morris, chief commercial officer of Energy Web. “One way is to make it easy for EVs to seamlessly participate in energy markets. If we’re successful, the moment an EV rolls off the lot of a dealership that car will be fully integrated into the energy system in the area. Customers can then be paid for their EVs to help balance the grid in near real-time.”
Volkswagen is a global driver of e-mobility. The newly developed, all-electric ID.3 was launched in 2020, leaping straight to the pole position on the sales chart in many countries in Europe. The ID.4 SUV will follow soon, hitting the market in Europe, China, and the United States. Overall, the Group will be investing about €35 billion in e-mobility in the next five years and launch about 70 all-electric models by 2030.
Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) forecasts that annual global EV sales will rise from 1.7 million in 2020 to 54 million by 2040, accounting for nearly 60% of new vehicle sales. As power grids around the world accommodate more and more EVs, dynamic “managed charging” represents today’s state of the art for EV grid integration (such as modulating the timing of EV charging to avoid large spikes in peak energy demand if too many EVs begin charging at the same time).
“We are keen to explore the possibilities that blockchain technology can have for smart charging applications and how this can have a positive effect on the ecological footprint and thus an increase in value for our customers,” said Marvin Schroeder, the project leader at Volkswagen Group Innovation. “At this early stage of the EV industry we have a great opportunity to shape and improve standards on how EVs like ours integrate into markets around the world.”
Energy Web has been working with grid operators globally and announced a proof of concept with Austrian Power Grid to use distributed energy resources — especially batteries — for frequency regulation. The same architecture is now being developed by Energy Web to enable any EV to participate in any combination of energy markets.
For the pilot, a Volkswagen EV and electric vehicle supply equipment (EVSE) will be integrated with the open-source Energy Web Decentralized Operating System (EW-DOS) tech stack. The Volkswagen / Energy Web partnership is expected to provide a proof point that EVs and EVSE can be digitized and integrated cost efficiently, securely, and compliant with General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) to electricity markets and grid operator operational systems.
Numerous car manufacturers are exploring using EV batteries for energy storage. However, some are more local rather than grid integration. Toyota started a project last year in Japan. In California, Omega Grid is working with EDF. And in Europe, four major electricity utilities are part of Equigy, aiming to crowd balance the grid. One of the utilities TenneT has worked with both BMW and Nissan on bidirectional charging. And Terna has an alliance with Fiat Chrysler for a virtual power plant (VPP) for a fleet of cars.
About Volkswagen Group
The Volkswagen Group, with its headquarters in Wolfsburg, is one of the world’s leading automobile manufacturers and the largest carmaker in Europe. The Group comprises twelve brands from seven European countries, including Volkswagen Passenger Cars, Audi, SEAT, ŠKODA, and Porsche. Every working day, 671,205 employees around the globe produce an average of 44,567 vehicles, are involved in vehicle-related services, or work in other areas of business. The Volkswagen Group sells its vehicles in 153 countries. With its Together 2025+ strategy, the Volkswagen Group has paved the way for the biggest change process in its history: the realignment into one of the world’s leading providers of sustainable mobility.
About Energy Web
Energy Web is a global, member-driven nonprofit accelerating the low-carbon, customer-centric energy transition by unleashing the potential of open-source, digital technologies. Our Energy Web Decentralized Operating System (EW-DOS) enables any energy asset, owned by any customer, to participate in any energy market. The Energy Web Chain — the world’s first enterprise-grade, public blockchain tailored to the energy sector — anchors the EW-DOS tech stack. The Energy Web ecosystem comprises leading utilities, grid operators, renewable energy developers, corporate energy buyers, IoT / telecom leaders, and others.