Policies Guiding the Integration of Electric Vehicles and Charging Stations into Power Grids 

SEC researchers are on a quest to unearth the intricacies of policy constraints and opportunities and fast-track the electrification of transportation systems in Sweden.

A Focus on Policy 
The SEC funded project “Vehicle-grid interaction from a policy perspective” concentrates exclusively on the interaction between electric vehicles, charging stations, and power grids from a policy perspective. Petra Stelling is a researcher at Lund University and VTI, The Swedish National Road and Transport Research Institute. She and her project colleagues aim to understand the legislation that regulates how EVs and charging stations are connected to the grid. The goal is to uncover hindrances and possibilities that can assist in addressing the issues of EV charging infrastructure. The project is a collaboration between SEC partners Lund University, VTI, E.ON, Vattenfall, Volvo Group, Volvo Cars, Scania, and CEVT. 

Petra Stelling, VTI

“We are looking at both EU regulations, which dictate what Sweden can do, as well as national laws. In some cases, planning and construction laws may apply, and environmental codes may come into play, especially for larger stations or when solar cells or battery storage are involved,” says Petra Stelling. 

Looking Across Borders 
The team has not only studied domestic regulations but also those in other countries, including Norway, the Netherlands, Germany, the UK, and the US, specifically California. These countries are frontrunners of EVs and the aim is to see if they have laws, policies, and strategies to be inspired by. One example they have discovered is that three of the studied countries have publicly accessible maps showing grid capacity, something that has been demanded in Sweden. 

Flexibility: A Key Element 
One of the most interesting areas Stelling and her team have uncovered in their research is the potential for flexible solutions. This concept has taken center stage in the current EU legislation.

“There is a suggested update of the EU regulations that involves flexibility which may facilitate more flexibility services, but has not been ratified yet”, says Petra Stelling. 

Stelling and her colleagues are looking at regulations at both a broader level and specific cases that could facilitate flexible solutions. However, she acknowledges that while new proposals are emerging, the area needs more attention to accelerate electrification. 

Bridging the Gap between Academia and Industry 
Stelling is hopeful that the research will produce concrete results, such as academic articles and conference presentations. However, more importantly, it could influence the legislative landscape.  

“We hope to reach lawmakers themselves with the prepared groundwork for new laws,” she says.  

The Road Ahead 
As the project moves towards its conclusion by the end of 2023, Stelling and her colleagues are preparing for the next steps, which include studying specific cases to identify regulatory tweaks that could facilitate the deployment of EV infrastructure. 

Working within the framework of the Swedish Electromobility Center has provided the opportunity to extend her network and to discuss the topic with other researchers and industry representatives. This collaborative environment has enabled her to gain new perspectives and insights together with the project partners.   

According to Stelling, the complexity of policy formulation isn’t merely about drafting laws. She stressed, “You need to think about what effects the law will really have before you adopt it. A thorough impact assessment is necessary. It’s a long process.” However, she remains optimistic about the future, envisioning a more flexible, regulated, and electrified future.