More than thirty additional charging stations for electric cars in the USP

Michiel Scherrenburg of the UU sustainability group at one of the new charging stations. Photo Utrecht Sustainability Institute

The electric charging stations for cars are located at four locations in the Utrecht Science Park, namely at Aarhuslaan, Budapestlaan, Cambridgelaan and Jenalaan. Everyone can use these stations. What is special about these charging stations is that they can not only be used to charge cars, but cars can also discharge energy.

The charging stations get their energy from solar energy that is stored in the battery of the car. A part is used for car rides, but a lot of energy remains. This means that there is overcapacity. If the sun is not shining and you need extra energy, it is possible to discharge energy from the car. The energy can then be used for, for example, the electricity supply to the buildings.

The charging center is one of the six testing grounds in Utrecht where experiments are being conducted with this form of energy consumption. The project comes from various partners*, including the University, and is being implemented by the Utrecht Sustainability Institute. The first comparable park in Europe is located in the Lombok district (in Dutch).

“The special thing is that we can use more sustainable energy this way. Cars are charged with solar control and can later supply the overcapacity to the Utrecht Science Park or, for example, to their own house,” says Seléne van der Poel of the Utrecht Sustainability Institute. Research is being done in various ways by the university of applied sciences and the university into this form of sustainable energy storage.

Electric sharing car for UU
As a pilot, Utrecht University seized the start of this testing ground to let employees use an electric loan car for their work. Utrecht University of Applied Sciences already uses six electric cars through the We Drive Solar company. From now on, UU employees can also register for these cars. If there is sufficient interest, UU will expand the number of cars. The condition is that the ride must be for work purposes and that the car is back in the Utrecht Science Park at the end of the day. "This way, we hope that people do not have to come to Utrecht Science Park by car because they need the car during the day," explains Oskar van Megen, UU sustainability officer.

* The partners working together in the living lab are Utrecht University, Utrecht University of Applied Sciences, and the companies LomboXnet, We Drive Solar, Smart Solar Charging, Stedin, Last Mile Solutions, The People Group, Jedlix, NewSolar and Siers.