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The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) has announced $3.2 million in funding for Amber Electric to trial a new smart charging system for electric vehicles (EVs). This trial, a first for Australia, will explore how EVs can be charged efficiently and even send power back to the grid.

Amber Electric is developing a software solution that will enable smart charging and two-way charging (vehicle-to-grid, or V2G) for its customers. As part of this trial, 100 smart chargers and 50 V2G chargers will be installed in homes.

Over the next two years, at least 1,000 customers in the ACT, NSW, QLD, SA, and VIC will participate, with the V2G component starting in mid-2025.

“With more people driving electric vehicles in Australia, this project will show new ways for people to get more value from their energy and help use more renewable energy,” ARENA CEO Darren Miller said.

Cars as “Batteries on Wheels”

This new technology will allow EV owners to use their cars as mobile batteries, supporting the electricity grid and using more renewable energy. Amber’s project will show how their system, which combines smart EV chargers, rooftop solar panels, and home batteries, can save money for customers and use renewable energy more efficiently.

“This technology is a big step forward for energy storage in Australia. By linking electric vehicles with the grid, we can cut costs for consumers and speed up the switch to renewable energy. Our customers will be able to compete with big coal and gas generators just by smart charging and discharging their EV battery,” Amber co-CEO Dan Adams said.

The funding is part of the Driving the Nation Fund, which invests in cheaper and cleaner transport solutions.

Since 2020, ARENA has announced $97.4 million in grants to help decarbonise transport, including public charging infrastructure, fleet decarbonisation, and innovative charging solutions.

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