Utrecht to be world’s first bidirectional region

Thanks to a new collaboration between Hyundai and We Drive Solar, Utrecht is set to become the world’s first bidirectional region for sustainable energy.

14 March 2022 10 minutes

Hyundai has signed an agreement with strategic partners to make Utrecht the first region in the world with a bidirectional ecosystem. Bidirectional means the batteries of shared electric cars are used to store sustainable energy on a large scale. State Secretary for Infrastructure and Water Management Stientje van Veldhoven, Alderman Eelco Eerenberg and Provincial Executive Member Huib van Essen were present at the signing. 

In 2020, the first bidirectional charging station was commissioned in Utrecht with King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands attending its opening. Since then, almost 500 public charging stations have been installed in Utrecht Region – the first region in the world to implement such facilities on this scale. At the stations, electric cars can be charged using sustainable energy and deliver energy back into the grid.

Hyundai chose to launch its first car with bidirectional charging technology in Utrecht because of local expertise and the considerable charging network. There will be a large-scale, city-wide deployment of the Hyundai IONIQ 5 electric car in the coming years.

We Drive Solar and its partners aim to establish the energy and mobility system of the future in Utrecht Region. This will include hundreds of shared electric cars providing clean air, fewer vehicles on the road and buffer capacity for the large-scale application of solar and wind energy in the region.

Utrecht aims to become the world’s first bidirectional city and region thanks to the unique collaboration with different parties in the We Drive Solar consortium:

  • ElaadNL is standardising and embedding the correct protocols
  • Last Mile Solutions is implementing the software-mediated control of charging stations
  • Nieuwe Weme and Siers produce and instal charging stations
  • Insurance company a.s.r. realised one of the largest bidirectional charging plazas
  • Utrecht Sustainability Institute scientifically validated the ecosystem
  • Stedin supports the integration of bidirectional charging in the electricity grid
  • Developers MRP and Ballast Nedam are facilitating the large-scale implementation of bidirectional shared cars in Cartesius, the newly developed green and healthy urban district
  • Koolen Industries is supporting the considerable scale-up of bidirectional shared cars
  • GoodMoovs is coupling carsharing reservations with bidirectional charging
  • The City of Utrecht and Utrecht Region continue to expand the public bidirectional charging infrastructure

Hyundai and We Drive Solar have tested bidirectional charging at charging stations across Utrecht. In 2021, the stations were integrated with the We Drive Solar carsharing system. A large number of IONIQ 5 cars are set to be launched with a scale-up to 150 bidirectional shared cars in Utrecht by late 2022.

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