Vehicle Electrification: Smart Grid Challenges and Opportunities

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Concerns about climate change have helped to shift the paradigm in the urban transportation industry in favour of vehicle electrification, with entirely electric or hybrid vehicles becoming a new reality endorsed by all major automotive makers. Nonetheless, present electrical power networks face new hurdles in terms of integrating electric mobility in a synergistic, progressive, dynamic, and stable manner. Aside from standard unidirectional charging, bidirectional connectivity is likely to become increasingly common. Furthermore, regardless of whether the car is in charging mode or not, the on-board power electronics can be used for other functions while the vehicle is plugged in, such as in the event of a power outage, regardless if the vehicle is in charging mode or not. Other new opportunities, from the electrical grid point of view, are even more relevant in the context of off-board power electronics systems, which can be enhanced with new features as, for example, compensation of power quality problems or interface with renewable energy sources. In this sense, this paper aims to present, in a comprehensive way, the new challenges and opportunities that smart grids are facing, including the new technologies in the vehicle electrification, towards a sustainable future. A theoretical analysis is also presented and supported by experimental validation.

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