RSM joins new consortium to research innovation for charging electric cars

A programme to promote innovative developments for generating and storing sustainable energy to meet growing demand for electric cars is being rolled out in the Rotterdam region. The work is being done by a new consortium formed by the City of Rotterdam and 17 neighbouring municipalities, plus Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University (RSM), project organisation Living Lab Smart Charging, power supplier ENGIE and grid operator Stedin.

The City of Rotterdam wants to facilitate electric vehicles because they are clean, quiet and economical, says Quirijn Oudshoorn, Rotterdam’s sustainable mobility consultant. But although electric cars put complicated demands on the electricity grid, their batteries could be used to buffer the effects of demands and supply so the city grid continues to be stable and reliable, despite the increasing demand for energy from electric vehicles and other users.

Electric cars could be part of the energy transition from fossil-fuelled power to power that’s generated locally from renewable sources of energy.

The consortium, launched in February, is investigating making the grid intelligent; building in the capability to decide where and when charging of electric cars can be shifted around based on the load on the grid and in accordance to the vehicle owner's needs. RSM MSc Business Information Management programme students Brenda Mwangi and Sergio di Giacinto; and PhD candidate Derck Koolen and other researchers from the Erasmus Centre for Future Energy Business at RSM are investigating how electric vehicles’ batteries and chargers communicate and integrate with the existing grid, as well as how this affects energy consumption and reliability.

Intelligent use of electric vehicle batteries

The proportion of locally generated energy as a share of all available energy is increasing, and sometimes, wind turbines and solar panels produce more electricity than consumers use at the time. The aim is to store this excess energy and use it later when there is less wind or sunlight. The solution might be to temporarily store power in the batteries of electric cars to buffer the effects of demand and supply – this is ‘smart charging’. It requires changes that will affect the entire chain of electric transport, from the energy producer to the grid manager and the charging point, and includes changes to charging subscriptions for the end user. It is anticipated that by 2025, there will be a million ‘batteries on wheels’ like this available in the Netherlands.

Houses and cars

Electric cars are often parked most of the time. Frequently they are plugged into public charging points for longer than necessary; this is inconvenient when all the other charging points are busy. The consortium in Rotterdam is analysing charging behaviour and looking for ways to increase the utilisation rate of each charging point.

They are looking at connection and disconnection in order to increase flexibility in the high-voltage grid without inconveniencing drivers of electric cars. Power supplier ENGIE has initiated a pilot scheme that aims to balance the high-voltage grid in a new way; the scheme will also test the charging points.

A questionnaire has been designed to find out more about consumers’ attitudes to and preferences for using electric cars as temporary electricity storage (‘vehicle-to-grid’ or V2G). The research will add to what is already known about future energy users. For example, Rotterdam city regulations mean builders and property developers must already take account of locally generated and locally stored energy from houses and apartments as well as the needs of residents to charge their electric cars. Municipalities working with the consortium and to expand the network of public charging points are: the City of Rotterdam, Brielle, Hellevoetsluis, Westvoorne, Nissewaard, Vlaardingen, Schiedam, Capelle aan de IJssel, Krimpen aan de IJssel, Westland, Delft, Midden-Delfland, Pijnacker-Nootdorp, Leidschendam-Voorburg, Wassenaar, Kaag en Braassem, Lansingerland and Gouda.

Ruggedised’s smart city

RSM is also a member of another consortium, RUGGEDISED, to develop a smart city energy network in the centre of Rotterdam. The Ruggedised consortium led by the City of Rotterdam received part of a €17.7 million grant from the European Commission in 2016 to research for the Heart of the South (Hart van Zuid) project to develop policies that can sustain electric mobility and infrastructure.

The Erasmus Energy Forum

In June, RSM will host its annual Erasmus Energy Forum to dig deeper into defining paths to deep decarbonisation and 100 per cent renewable energy. The programme is divided into Science Day and Business Day, and speakers are drawn from every part of the energy landscape, and from Rotterdam to Silicon Valley.  The Energy Forum in Rotterdam on 28 and 29 June 2017 is an interdisciplinary platform that brings together regulators, scientists and business leaders to discuss the latest developments in RSM’s particular area of the future energy landscape; by reputation, the event’s debates push the envelope of sustainability and energy. Last year’s Forum discussions covered how electric vehicles are the Rosetta Stone in helping business and society accelerate the shift to clean, sustainable, smart energy.

More information

Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University (RSM) is one of Europe’s top 10 business schools. RSM provides ground-breaking research and education furthering excellence in all aspects of management and is based in the international port city of Rotterdam – a vital nexus of business, logistics and trade. RSM’s primary focus is on developing business leaders with international careers who can become a force for positive change by carrying their innovative mindset into a sustainable future. Our first-class range of bachelor, master, MBA, PhD and executive programmes encourage them to become critical, creative, caring and collaborative thinkers and doers. Study information and activities for future students, executives and alumni are also organised from the RSM office in Chengdu, China.

For more information about RSM or this release, please contact Marianne Schouten, communications manager for RSM, on +31 10 408 2877 or by email at

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