Energy Web, Volkswagen partner on blockchain charging for electric vehicles

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The partnership will investigate the integration of electric vehicles (EVs) and charging infrastructure on the blockchain to support advanced charging programmes.

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 (EV).

The test will pair Energy Web’s Decentralised Operating System (EW-DOS) tech stack with existing EV charging standards, including the ISO 15118 Plug & Charge standard in combination with the public key infrastructure of Electrify America, one of the world’s largest EV charging networks.

Key issues are that EVs can be integrated cost efficiently and securely to electricity markets and grid operator systems.

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“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.”

With the numbers of EVs growing, both the need for managed charging of EV batteries and the market for provision of grid services are growing and will accelerate further as manufacturers and countries look to phase out the traditional internal combustion engine vehicles.

For example, Bloomberg New Energy Finance has 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.

“With this partnership, we want to accelerate electric mobility and deliver even more value to EV customers. One way is to make it easy for EVs to seamlessly participate in energy markets,” says Jesse Morris, chief commercial officer of Energy Web.

“ 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.”

So far the Audi e-tron range is believed to be the first to be supplied smart charging ready.

In October 2020 the Mobility Open Blockchain Initiative (MOBI) released its first standard for the grid integration of EVs.

For Energy Web, the initiative is an extension of various projects underway to deliver flexibility to the grid from assets such as battery storage and EVs.

Volkswagen plans to invest €35 billion ($41.7 billion) in e-mobility in the next five years and launch about 70 all-electric models by 2030.