Cars of the future could make up a key part of the smart home, and Audi is working on creating a renewable power system, which will also fuel its future electric vehicles.
The company is trialling a new system at its Swiss home in Ingolstadt, which helps distribute power across the community of homes. Power is harvested from solar panels, and then stored across the network, and the Smart Energy Network is clever enough to plan power demands from houses and cars based on habits of users. This means the network can place power where it’s needed. The Audi Smart Energy Network can also talk to the main power grid, topping up the system where needed.
This means that your neighbourhood would be capable of balancing the needs of the community using renewables, and then talking to the grid to make up any shortfall.
But it’s not the first example of a car company playing a pivotal role in how you’ll power your home in the future.
Nissan has led the way with its Vehicle to Home, an experimental system that means your home will run off your Nissan Leaf's battery. When you arrive home, you plug in your car to power your home – with the size of an EV battery, this could actually fuel your home for a number of days. At night when electricity demand is lower, and crucially cheaper, the grid will power up your car so you’re ready to go the next morning.
What’s more, there are even plans for car users to sell unwanted electricity back to the grid during peak times, and make a profit.
And unlike Audi’s trial, Nissan’s is hitting real homes. The company has partnered with OVO in the UK, and smart batteries are available to buy – starting right now alongside the rollout of the new Nissan Leaf.