Mitsubishi Works on Neutral-Energy Project
It seems like Mitsubishi is getting serious about its future with alternative energy. With help from the Renault-Nissan alliance and their resources for global expansion, Mitsubishi Motors is not only building cross-platform vehicles with Renault-Nissan but they’re also working towards a greener future with hybrids and electric SUVs. Plus, Mitsubishi’s other factions keep surprising us with smart technology and eco-friendly fuel sources, and now we are learning about a new project. Recently, Mitsubishi has joined with Hitachi Europe Ltd. and ENGIE, to develop the world’s first recharger that can recharge an electric vehicle (EV) as well as an entire building.
Workers from Hitachi Europe Ltd. and Mitsubishi Motors set out to explore the potential for electric vehicles to act as a means of energy storage for an office building. The project was inspired by other automotive companies that have shared their electric vehicle technology with companies in other industries for similar operations. For instance, Nissan’s electric vehicle batteries are currently utilized at a French data center for energy storage, and another potential use for these same batteries is for solar-powered off-grid lighting.
So, what if the batteries in a used, or even a new electric vehicle, could be used in the same way through a bi-directional charger to power other objects?
Alright, so each partner needs to make a contribution to the project. Here’s what each entity offered up:
– Hitachi provided its vehicle-to-everything V2X charger for the project. This recharger enables bi-directional charging between the electric car battery and another object with an electricity grid. This technology allows electrical energy to be charged and discharged between two different sources.
– ENGIE is offering up their own office building as the object to be charged up, or as a Building Energy Management System (BEMS). By connecting the V2X charger to the building’s energy supply system. This building is also outfitted with solar panels that also collect and store energy. Thus, the V2X charger is also integrated with the solar panels and other renewable energy sources connected to a smart grid.
– Mitsubishi Motors is of course providing an Outlander PHEV SUV. This plug-in hybrid vehicle will act as a unit that may be charged or discharge through the V2X charger.
Okay, so how does it all work? Well, with the V2X charger properly hooked up, when the building generates more solar power than it needs, this excess energy is transferred through the V2X bi-directional charger to recharge the Outlander PHEV. This energy can then be stored in the Outlander PHEV until the energy levels in the building drop. The electric energy in the battery can then be discharged back into the grid when appropriate. As a result, the electric batteries in the Outlander are acting as an energy storage for the building.
It sounds like the project is designed to constantly recycle energy between two separate entities. Whether it would be a suitable option for electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids in-use would be something to see. Imagine an entire recharging platform powered by a building that is powered by solar panels. It’s basically 100-percent clean free energy.
“This project demonstrates how our IoT and digital capabilities can help customers make buildings energy-neutral, increasing their energy efficiency and reducing costs, by optimizing EV charging infrastructure. Our technology can also help to create new business cases across the EV value chain, including vehicle to grid technology, which enables flexibility with their energy distribution … ” – Ram Ramachander, Chief Digital Officer at Hitachi Europe.
Because the V2X charger can be used to work with kilowatts, kilowatts-per-hour, volt-ampere reactive (VAR) power, and ΔkW, it is a very flexible piece of technology that can make it possible to connect solar panels to the charger itself. Then, the charger provides its own energy supply so that it may store energy for when night falls and the building needs to collect more energy than it would during the day. Overall, its an efficient example of neutral, renewable energy. Going forward, the team will examine how electric vehicles, renewable energy and BEM Systems can work together to enable buildings and other entities to become energy-neutral.
It feels like every month, we’re taking another step into the future with Mitsubishi Motors. Interested in what else is going on? Check out our University Mitsubishi social media page to catch up and stay connected.