With the help of researchers from TU Delft’s Department of Electrical Sustainable Energy, start-up company Cohere has developed ‘Maxem’, an intelligent load balancer which allows for faster and more efficient charging of electric vehicles.
This technology is essentially a control system which manages the charging power of a number of charging stations for electric cars, providing the ability to turn the power up or down as needed.
The technology was recently installed at Schiphol to help with the fast-charging of taxis departing from the airport, all of which are electric. Installing Maxem has saved the cost of upgrading the grid to deal with the need to charge electric cars by creating a way to ensure the grid's maximum capacity is never exceeded. It has also of course increased the charging speed of the taxis, and according to Cohere, offers financial flexibility.
Installing the system negates the need to keep upgrading the grid, and ensures that it will be able to charge any number of electric vehicles as their popularity increases in the near future. As Michael
Coussement from Cohere explained "Electric cars are a growing market, but no one knows how fast it will grow" and installing maxim could save on double investments.
The system also means that electric vehicles can be charged using solar energy, by measuring the amount of solar being produced and adapting the charging power of the electric car to match. It offers the potential for users to select how much solar and how much grid energy to use, depending on whether or not they need a fast charge. While this is more sustainable than just using grid energy Dr. Pavol Bauer, head of the DC Systems Energy Conversion and Storage Group from TU Delft, and who helped in the development of Cohere's system, thinks that the technology needs to go further. "What we have now are really fast charging stations, but if you are charging with regular electricity from European mix then you still have the CO2 emissions." The next step for this technology, according to Bauer is contactless charging, which would allow electric taxis to move continuously through the lane without needing to physically plug in a charger. He explained to Delta that they are also working on developing on-road charging for electric vehicles, using cells in or next to the highways, affirming his belief that "contactless charging is the future".