Denmark expands its electric vehicle charging network, integrating EVs with wind power
Denmark might be called the Portland of Europe. Bicycles abound. The government gives EV buyers a $40k tax break and free parking in Copenhagen. EV owners can swap their car battery for a charged one at any one of a number of battery exchange stations. Adding to these green credentials, the country is expanding the number of charging stations on the roads.
CLEVER, a Danish electric mobility operator, announced this week that it has bought 50 fast charging stations from ABB and will install them for public use throughout Denmark. The stations will be installed quickly, over the next six months.
These charging stations take only 15-30 minutes to charge a car’s battery, reducing range anxiety. Similar fast charging stations are making their debut in the US as well, and entire networks of fast chargers are being built in Belgium and Estonia.
Challenges remain. Adoption of electric cars hasn’t been quite as fast as the Danish government had hoped. Just 363 EVs have been sold this year, compared to the government’s hoped-for 5,000, according to the environmental organisation Danmarks Naturfredningsforening. Nonetheless, the number of electric vehicle owners continues to grow steadily.
As the number of electric cars grows, Danes move closer to achieving its target to be completely independent of coal, oil and gas by 2050.
Today, electric cars are (gradually) becoming an integrated part of the energy grid. At the same time, a quarter of Denmark’s electricity is now generated by wind turbines. These turbines sometimes produce more energy than is needed at the time. EVs can store this energy in their batteries and run on wind power when they’re turned on. Or they can feed energy back into the grid as needed when they’re plugged in.
“Electric cars are basically big batteries on wheels that have the virtue of being largely paid for by consumers and managed by companies like ours,” said Torben Andersen of electric mobility operator, Better Place. “That’s a hugely attractive proposition for utilities in countries like Denmark that need to find outlets for their renewable energy.”
Image credit: Peter Rosbjerg via Flickr