Bernt A. Bremdal

Professor & Senior Advisor, UiT & Smart Innovation Norway


We have caught up with Bernt Bremdal to get his feedback on Electric Vehicle Charging Infrastructure. Bernt is a Professor & Senior Advisor at UiT & Smart Innovation Norway.

Last year a consortium of energy and technology companies, research partners and a municipality started building a revolutionizing charging concept for electric cars in Sarpsborg, Norway, based on the INVADE model, coordinated by Smart Innovation Norway. By the end of 2019, Inspiria Charge Court was opened with a total of 40 charging points. 

At Inspiria Charge Court it is possible to trade energy and flexibility between electric cars, charge points, between the charge court and the grid, turning it in effect into a local marketplace for energy flexibility trading. 

Inspiria Charge Court is Europe’s first EV Charge Court of its kind.

EV Charging Infrastructure Team: Can you describe what you do in EV charging market space?

Bernt Bremdal:

Our organization is a research organization that focuses on the impact of new technologies on environment, on businesses (i.e. energy business), markets and people.  We test and analyze performance of new technologies and assess the potential impact of such. We have analyzed the performance of V2G units, smart charging and how charging stations can be designed to maximize service and profits with the least possible investment and best environmental solutions.  Charging stations encapsulated in virtual and physical microgrids are also a part of this. We have focused a lot on technologies and services for regular EVs and electric buses, but have also been engaged in the development of electric ferries, light electric vehicles (i.e. ATVs, snow mobiles) and electric construction machines.

EV Charging Infrastructure Team: Can you give us an overview of one of your latest projects that stood out in your opinion?

Bernt Bremdal:

INVADE a Horizon 2020 project:

Integrated electric vehicles and batteries to empower distributed and centralised storage in distribution grids. Renewable energies and electric vehicles (EVs) change the way we consume and produce electricity. It also changes the way those who manage and distribute it must think about the electricity system – to always provide the best possible service for the connected costumers. But these things are difficult, and often take a long time. The goal of the EU funded Horizon 2020 project INVADE is to greatly speed up this process, by showing that the technologies and solutions we have today, only must be connected in new ways to solve the challenges of tomorrow. In 2019 a number of commercial spin-outs came out of this project. The Inspiria Charge Court (ICC) is one. ICC defines a local flexibility market within a microgrid that combines different forms of charging services to utilize locally produced energy, smart charging and v2G to keep general costs down and peaks within the physical capacity of the local grid.

Parties involved: Smart Innovation Norway, Schneider Electric, eSmart Systems, Fortum Charge and Drive, Sarpsborg Municipality, Østfold Energi and Inspiria Science Center. (additional INVADE members: Greenflux, badenova, Albena, Estabanell, Lyse, VTT, NTNU)

Problem faced: Develop a sustainable charging service with high performance superchargers and extensive park & charge spots – all set within the constraints of the local power grid. 

What problems does the project solve: 3 major contributions: Acute control and differentiated services that offer flexibility and means to keep power peaks within physical and economic boundaries, smart use of microgrid technologies with PVs, a business model that allows timely service stacking to extend/add revenue streams and profits.

Project structure: A consortium consisting of a utility (market part), different charging operators, parking spot owner, a financing party, technology and research team.

Project cost: 16 mill NOKs

Costs to the end user: No added cost. Charging prices are considered 10-25% lower than competing offers.

What input and guarantees did your clients have to provide to make this project viable financially and workable: Regular contracting. No special deals. Research team worked for free as advisors.

Difficulties you and your client encountered in the run up, during and after project execution: Keep costs below budget. V2G charger performance. Somewhat reduced ambitions underway. Recruiting critical mass of independent charging spot operators to become part of the charge court ad trust the shred economy concept. Commissioning issues.

Key take-aways from this project: Concept works. Too early to determine the longer term economy, but Fortum Charge and Drive has adopted part of the concept to develop its franchise further.

EV Charging Infrastructure Team: How do you see your organization’s role evolve in 2020-2021 and what are the key market targets for you in 2021?

Bernt Bremdal:

As a research institution we will develop new concepts and models together with the industry, but also harvest data from sites such as ICC. More focus on superchargers, cordless charging services and electric heavy vehicle transport.

EV Charging Infrastructure Team: What is your advice to your customers?

Bernt Bremdal:

For parking spot owners and CPOs – Go electric.  Both costs and power peaks can be curtailed effectively in a cost saving way. The ICC has shown that the grid can be spared, and the costs do not have to be very high to offer a good and profitable service.   Do not create a replica of a petrol station if you want to make a profit.  That makes you vulnerable to your main suppliers, the grid owner and utility.

EV Charging Infrastructure Team: Taking your industry experience and projects you worked with into account, what are you going to address at our event on 9 October 2020?

Bernt Bremdal:

I am going to explain the ICC.

Bernt is speaking at our EV Charging Infrastructure, AC, DC, V1G, V2G Stakeholder Focus Day on 9 October and is happy to have further conversations with industry peers. 

If you would like us to pass your message to Bernt prior to Focus Day please contact Jane Huggins on who will be able to facilitate your communication with him.