German car maker Audi is set to launch a home battery that distributes solar power around the house to cope with the demand placed on the power supply by electric vehicles and other household items.
The Audi Smart Energy Network uses a battery to store solar energy and power taken from the existing grid, then uses software to distribute the energy around the house when required.
As a result, the battery will balance out power demands by predicting when an item, such as an electric vehicle or a central heating system, will need energy. Experts see such systems as the future of electricity, storing up fickle renewable energy and smoothing out peaks in demand across the national grid.
It does this with the help of forecasting software from Swiss start-up company Ampard and data harvested from connected household devices, such as smart televisions, although the system can also be programmed by the user.
The research project, which is being trialled in Ingolstadt, Germany and Zurich, in Switzerland, will rival Tesla’s Powerwall home battery and the Nissan Energy Solar package from the Japanese car maker. Tesla's Powerwall and the Nissan system also use solar power to store energy during the day, before releasing it to run lighting or charge a vehicle overnight.
‘We are looking at electric mobility in the context of an overall energy supply system that is increasingly based on renewables. We are playing a pioneering role with the prequalification of the balancing-power market – enabling producers to feed power into the grid, as part of the pilot project. That is now for the first time also possible down at the level of individual households, which helps balance the entire power grid,’ said Dr Hagen Seifert, head of sustainable product concepts at Audi.