We Drive Solar: solving the power surge crisis, one car at a time

The rising popularity of solar energy to power our homes and workplaces will surely not have passed you by. Nor will the growing number of electric vehicles you see driving around. In fact, in January 2023, almost one in four cars sold in The Netherlands was electric or hybrid. Which of course is great news for air quality!

In a city like Utrecht, car sharing platforms like We Drive Solar play an important role in meeting mobility needs and are integral to urban planning in districts like Merwedekanaalzone and Cartesius. For a small monthly fee, you can drive a car anywhere; parking space, insurance, maintenance, and power included for maximum financial and practical freedom.

Peak Overload

Most electric vehicles have a driving range of 400-500km; much more than most drivers do on an average day. But with the majority of people charging their vehicles when they get home from work – usually around the same time they start cooking, doing the laundry, watching TV, and using all the appliances great and small around the house – the electrical grid suffers from surges in power demand during the evening.

Couple this with the fact that solar panels charge during daylight hours, and you quickly see how peak times can overload the power grid. Enter bidirectional charging: the brainchild of We Drive Solar founder Robin Berg. Standard electrical charging stations only let you to charge your car, but with the bidirectional charging system of We Drive Solar, you can also discharge excess power back into the grid.

Smart Energy Use

The solution is as simple as it is clever: it uses your car battery as storage, much like a home battery would, and allows you to return the power you don’t need back into the grid. The amount of energy a car battery can store can power an average household for two weeks, making the urban charging points a self-supporting energy ecosystem onto itself. In cooperation with the municipality of Utrecht, Elaad, Renault and Hyundai, among others, We Drive Solar has realised several international firsts in the field of electric car sharing and bidirectional charging.

“We’re active in many cities throughout The Netherlands, but Utrecht will become the first city in the world to have a citywide bidirectional ecosystem to help create a 100% clean regional energystem ,” says Robin Berg. The ability to launch initiatives such as creating the largest school solar installation – in which 500 solar panels were placed on the roofs of Amadeus Lyceum in Leidsche Rijn – or the largest bidirectional charging plaza in the world at a.s.r. headoffice are precisely why Robin feels so at home in Utrecht. “It’s a great fit for a company like We Drive Solar, thanks to its ambitious goals for renewable energy and mobility.”

Robin Berg

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We Drive Solar: solving the power surge crisis, one car at a time

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