Ask the Expert: Carl Brinkmann, R&D Manager, Domestic EVSE
We’re very excited to announce our new Ask the Expert Series!
We’re very excited to announce our new “Ask the Expert Series” to delve into the ever-evolving field of renewable energy!
As our first Expert, we caught up with Carl Brinkmann, Moixa’s R&D Manager, Domestic EVSE. Carl has been working with us for three years, and his role focuses on managing the planning and development of Moixa’s future technologies, from initial concepts to successfully launched products.
With a solid background in mechanical & industrial engineering and experience in R&D strategy, Carl sat down with us to discuss his views on the future of EVs and EV smart charging and the exciting projects he is working on.
Hi Carl, thanks so much for taking the time to talk to us. First of all, we wanted to ask you, what made you want to take the job at Moixa?
I wanted to be part of the renewable energy transition. I knew Moixa were at the forefront of using energy storage hardware and software to help add more renewable energy into the grid and keep it stable.
What do you think is unique about Moixa’s vision?
Moixa’s vision is 100% focused on one single goal: managing the world’s batteries to enable more renewable energy on the grid. This vision opens up a wide range of opportunities for our GridShare software, from managing solar home batteries to electric vehicles. We are on a mission to manage all batteries!
What is the most exciting project you’ve worked on?
We are currently leveraging our extensive experience in managing solar batteries to optimise the charging of electric vehicles.
In 2020, we started a partnership with Alfen, a leading provider of EV charging stations and integrator of smart grid solutions. The collaboration aimed at conducting a trial to provide smart charging capabilities to residential EV owners by combining solar optimisation, tariff optimisation and grid services into a single user-centric platform.
The trial aimed to create personalised and optimised smart charging plans by using Moixa’s GridShare AI software and Alfen’s EV chargers. We developed and tested our EV smart charging capabilities with participants across the UK during the trial. By automatically charging their vehicles from free excess solar and cheap electricity, we were able to reduce their charging costs by 20 to 40% (The savings compare Moixa’s optimisation to the use of an EV timer).
You can read more about our collaboration with Alfen in our blog post.
In the future, our smart charging technology could also help balance the grid by connecting to millions of EVs all around the world.
What do you see as the future of EVs and EV smart charging? Why are they important to reach net zero?
As the reality of climate change becomes evident, governments start to realise the need to transition away from fossil fuels by building more renewable energy projects. However, the increasing share of renewables on the grid comes with new challenges due to the intermittency of wind and solar. How can we ensure that the grid remains stable if our energy supply is unreliable?
Countries like the UK will require large amounts of energy storage capacity to cope with these fluctuations. Thankfully, the market share of electric vehicles is also rising at unprecedented rates. Since electric vehicles are basically batteries on wheels that are parked 95% of the time, we have an amazing opportunity to use the enormous storage capabilities of EVs to balance the grid.
For this to become a reality, we need a large amount of EVs to be connected and managed by one central platform, such as Moixa’s GridShare software. GridShare has the potential to charge EVs when there is excess energy available and discharge during periods of peak demand, providing benefits both to the end-users and the grid.
Can you think of any common misconceptions people have about EVs? Why are they just urban myths?
I believe that the biggest fear people have about EVs is related to range anxiety, the driver’s fear that a vehicle has insufficient energy storage to cover the road distance needed to reach its destination. This is becoming less relevant as the battery capacity of new vehicles has increased massively over the past few years.
For example, the Tesla Model S has a range of 405 miles, which allows going from London to Edinburgh in one single charge. Furthermore, if you do need an extra charge, the Tesla superchargers will enable you to charge an extra 200 miles in 15 minutes. However, most of the time, you will just need to keep your EV plugged in overnight, which is basically what most people do with their smartphones anyway.
To further debunk this myth that EVs are not suited to long journeys, it’s also worth noting that 99% of car journeys in England are under 100 miles, while the average length of a car trip is 8.4 miles.
Find out more common misconceptions about EVs in our blog post.
Is sustainability a big driver for you in your work?
Yes, definitely, it is why I joined Moixa, and it is what keeps me motivated at work every day.
What are your top tips for someone considering a career in EVs & in the renewable energy industry?
I believe everybody considering a career in EV & renewables needs to read the book “Sustainable Energy – without the hot air” by David MacKay. There is so much misinformation about renewable energy nowadays that it’s very difficult to distinguish valid arguments from total nonsense.
This book goes back to the first principles and outlines five ways in which the UK could run on 100% renewable energy. Although the book was written in 2008, it is still super relevant today. For example, the author predicted the use of vehicle-to-grid technology (V2G) to balance the grid, and we’re still working on this today!
You can find a free copy of the book available online here.
What change would you make to the energy industry if you had a magic wand?
I would ban all fossil fuels.
What is the one thing we should know about you that isn’t on your CV or LinkedIn profile?
I love playing volleyball outside on a sunny day!
A huge thank you to Carl for sharing his vision of the future of EVs and discussing his role at Moixa. You can connect with Carl on LinkedIn here.
Do you want to join our team and help us build an energy system powered by renewables? Visit our careers page and see if there’s a role that suits you, or get in touch directly with our Talent Acquisition Manager Gail Solomon.