New trials show V2G generates profits and protects EV batteries
The success of a major vehicle-to-grid trial has showcased the potential for electric vehicles to become revenue generators rather than cost centres for fleets. The 100-vehicle pilot confirmed that by recharging EV batteries at cheap, off-peak tariffs, or from solar panels, EV owners can use their cars as power storage systems that resupply the grid at times of high demand, selling electricity back at a higher tariff.
The Electric Nation trial of 100 cars and vans in the UK allowed vehicle owners to choose their own electricity supplier, and included several different import and export energy tariffs.
The results confirmed not only that the technology works, but also that it could be commercially interesting for fleets.
While the pilot focused on drivers plugging in their cars at home, Mike Potter, CEO of CrowdCharge, which led the trial, said: “There is also an opportunity for commercial fleets to take advantage of this technology in order to help lower their carbon footprint and achieve their Net Zero goals.”
Depending on the operational use profile of fleet EVs, and particularly when they are stationary and plugged-in, businesses could use the vehicles as alternatives to expensive battery storage systems for their own power needs, or even generate a profit by charging at low-cost times and selling the power back to the grid at high cost times.
V2G boosts energy system
Roger Hey, Electricity System Manager at Western Power Distribution, said: “Vehicle to grid charging doubles the amount of flexibility in the electricity system, although in reality it brings even greater benefit because it also allows us to use the same unit of energy multiple times through charge/discharge cycles.
“V2G has enormous potential to reduce the amount of new electricity network that we build and can contribute towards optimising the whole energy system, ultimately needing less generating capacity and reserve.”
V2G holds particular benefits for renewable energy, with its potential to charge up vehicles and store electricity when there is an excess of wind or solar power.
New technology needed
From a technological perspective, vehicle-to-grid is only possible currently via Nissan’s ChAdeMO charging connector, but the more popular CCS charging system is due to be V2G-compatible by 2025 if not sooner – Volkswagen has already said that all of its ID models with the 77kWh batteries, starting with the new ID.5, will be able to be charged bi-directionally via a special DC bi-directional wall box.
A different V2G trial this month found that the careful charging and discharging of EV batteries via V2G can optimise the condition of batteries condition and improve their health by 8.6% to 12.3% over one-year’s operation, compared to conventional charging alone. An improvement on this scale, and avoiding battery degradation, is equivalent to about one extra year of use.
Professor James Marco of Warwick Manufacturing Group, said: “Our experimental research highlighted the potential to extend battery life by exploiting the unique capability of V2G chargers to both charge and discharge the vehicle battery. By careful optimisation of this process and knowing how the battery performance may degrade over time, it is possible to condition the battery to extend its life in a number if situations when compared to conventional methods of vehicle charging.”