Welcome to Bornholm – one of the first places in the world where vehicle-to-grid (V2G) is being used as a part of the daily work for homecare and social care workers managed by the Regional Municipality. Bornholm currently has 19 electric vehicles (EVs) tasked in part with the critical job of providing daily care to its citizens.
Ebbe Jensen, the fleet manager at the Regional Municipality of Bornholm, recently spoke with us on the small island.
“When you start using a new technology like V2G, it inevitably creates some doubt in your mind. For example, ‘Will everything work as it should?’ When we got the new V2G chargers from Nuvve, I had that feeling – that doubt. So in the beginning, I went on an evening walk everyday to see if the chargers were ‘behaving’ as expected. In the end, it’s my responsibility that the 19 electric cars are always charged to the right level. So let’s put it this way: I went on MANY evening walks during that period of time.”
Ebbe pauses to look at the big screen mounted on his office wall. The screen gives an overview of the 19 EV’s that are being charged using Nuvve’s V2G technology. And the screen is an important tool in his everyday work.
Ebbe explains as he points at the screen:
The screen allows me to follow closely how much power is left on the car batteries. On the screen I can see right away if one of our employees, by mistake, has forgotten to charge a car. I can easily locate if some of the chargers are not working well. And I can follow the daily development of the car batteries. For example, I can see that we have a car here with only 40 percent power left on the battery.
We are in the particular situation that our employees need to have confidence that the cars always work perfectly. For example, the homecare team here in Roenne has 3 electric cars that are on the road for many hours per day. It is crucial for us that the cars are always ready to go so that the citizens in the area can get the personal care and daily help they need.
We have experienced a few situations where one of our homecare workers has called us to say, ‘There is no power in the battery – the car can’t get started!’ But in most cases we have been able to prevent this from happening thanks to Nuvve’s mobile management app.
Stabilizing the grid on Bornholm
In general, the EVs in Ebbe’s fleet are on the road from 8 am to 4 pm. Because Nuvve’s V2G chargers can charge the cars three times faster than a normal charger, employees at the Regional Municipality get the chance to charge the cars in the middle of the day during coffee or lunch breaks. When the daily work is done and the cars are back in the garage, Nuvve’s GIVETM software platform allows excess from the batteries to be sent back to the grid.
“Our EV’s are contributing to the stabilization of the grid,” Ebbe says with pride in his voice. “And in the beginning, the new technology also contributed to giving us grey hair!”
Ebbe’s colleague Bent Jensen laughs, as he joins our conversation. Bent has played an important role in getting the V2G charging stations up and running, while taking care of the employees and their need to have operative cars.
“In the beginning we asked ourselves, ‘Will it be a happy ending with V2G or will we end up messing up people’s work life up?’ We were a bit nervous if there would always be enough power in the cars. Would the cars be able to start in the morning or would we end up in a situation where all the power of the batteries had been ‘stolen’ in the night by Nuvve’s platform?” commented Bent.
Bent smiles and looks at his colleague Ebbe. It is obvious that the two men create a playful atmosphere at the office, and that they also like to make jokes with the people from the Nuvve team visiting today.
Ebbe continues in a more serious tone, ‘Right now, the electric cars are in a phase where everything runs smoothly. And to be honest, we have never experienced running out of power on the batteries. And we have made a clear deal with Nuvve not to take too much power from the batteries.”
We asked Ebbe what potential he sees in using V2G on Bornholm. “V2G is a gift to the community on Bornholm,” he answered, with a lot of enthusiasm in his voice. “Nuvve’s V2G solution is a genius tool for us since we are already focused on becoming ‘a bright green island’ using only sustainable energy sources like solar energy and windmills. But the challenge in using sustainable sources is that it creates a lot of instability in the grid. And that’s why V2G is so perfect for us – because it can be used for stabilizing the grid.”
Bent continues, “Bornholm is the perfect size for becoming self-sufficient with sustainable energy. We have 40,000 people who live here, and in the summertime, we have 600,000 tourists visiting our beautiful island. As citizens on Bornholm we really want to take part in the green transformation.”
On a personal level, Ebbe and Bent have become experts in V2G technology. Ebbe told us, “We have gained a unique experience that can be used in the future. Hopefully, the future will bring MANY more electric cars with V2G to Bornholm. Personally, I have been working in the car industry for more than 44 years, so I really have a deep feeling on what is going on. And it gives me great satisfaction to be a first adopter by working with technology like V2G that is not broadly known yet. It makes me proud every day.”
Ebbe smiles while Bent continues, “And I think it is a very important aspect of V2G that you don’t need to make major changes in your everyday life. Driving electric cars with V2G should not be nerdy – it should just be easy!”
Facts: The Regional Municipality of Bornholm has 296 fleet cars and 22 electric cars – 19 of these cars are using V2G. The electric cars drive around 20,000 kilometers per year and have become very popular among the employees.