Tesla may have made waves with its Tesla Energy home batteries, but more luxury car makers are looking to do something similar as they make the jump to all-electric vehicles. Audi is one of the latest, as the company has just announced its own “Smart Energy Network,” which combines home energy storage, solar power generation, and electric vehicle charging.
Audi describes the Smart Energy Network as a kind of “virtual power plant,” where the batteries not only reduce a homeowner’s reliance on the electrical grid, but also communicate with each other and in turn balance out the demands for power consumption.
Dr. Hagen Seifert, Audi’s Head of Sustainable Product Concepts, explained in a statement:
“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.”
Audi is currently running a trial program for the Smart Energy Network, but it’s limited to households in the Ingolstadt area and the Zurich region. There’s no word on if the trial will be expanded at some point or when the car maker expects to have the system ready for consumer launch.