CSIRO announces new Electric Vehicle Solar Charging Module

The Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) has announced the creation of a new solar charging module for Electric Vehicles (EVs) which will link rooftop solar panels and batteries to EV charging stations.

The solar-powered EV charging stations are designed to use the maximum amount of renewable energy and relieve stress on the grid, especially during peak summer periods.

“A normal household battery system is typically not powerful enough to charge a car on a hot day as it can overheat and slow down,” lead researcher at CSIRO’s Centre for Hybrid Energy Systems, Dr Christopher Munnings said.

“We’ve devised a way to manage the temperature of the battery, minimising the amount of power required from the grid. In a multi-EV home, this system will automatically monitor each car, spreading the load between the battery, solar PV and the rest of the home.”

The system was devised in collaboration with the Victorian Government, Delta Electronics, and Nissan Australia. Nissan produces hybrid vehicles and the all-electric Nissan Leaf.

Three solar charging modules have been installed at the Nissan Head Office in Dandenong, each capable of charging four vehicles. They will undergo a 200-day test and evaluation period with special attention on the summer months.

Nissan Australia Managing Director Stephen Lester said: “Nissan is proud to partner with CSIRO and Delta Electronics to deliver this innovative trial and acknowledges the investment of the Victorian Government in supporting this project.

“A study of this nature will enable greater EV adoption both here and around the world reducing impact on the grid.”

Victorian Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change, Lily D’Ambrosio, said that these chargers would help EV early adopters save on running costs.

“This battery smart storage platform means electric vehicle drivers can travel more confidently and enjoy the drive.”

Earlier this year, CSIRO formalised an agreement with Japanese-based chemical manufacturing firm Piotrek to commercialise their next-generation lithium battery technology over the next five years.