Lifting the lid on vehicle to grid (V2G)

10th February 2020

Cleaning up our transport systems

As Government tries to tackle the phasing out of petrol, diesel and even hybrids cars earlier than planned, vehicle to grid technology is likely to play a key role in cleaning up our transport systems.

What is vehicle to grid (V2G) technology and how can it be used?

V2G describes a system in which plug-in electric vehicles, such as battery electric vehicles plug-in hybrids or hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles (EVs), communicate with the power grid to sell demand response services by either returning electricity to the grid or by throttling their charging rate.

V2G technologies undoubtedly have a key role to play in the decarbonisation of the UK’s transport and energy systems. By connecting and coordinating EVs charging and discharging, it not only minimises the costs of EV charging where implemented, it also allows the grid to integrate high levels of variable renewable energy sources.

How much impact could it have?

At the end of December 2019 the number of EVs on the UK’s roads had reached almost 265,000 and it is anticipated that this number will reach 11 million by 2030. Whilst the advantage of EVs reducing overall emissions and significantly improving air quality in urban areas is now widely appreciated and understood, the ability to use these vehicles also as a source of energy that could feed into a grid is yet to be recognised. But this is changing rapidly, with initiatives led by energy suppliers collaborating with car manufacturers to promote the possibilities for both businesses with fleets of electric vehicles and also domestic users and their domestic supply.

Nottingham City Council has also been an early adopter of electric vehicle (EV) infrastructure, including battery storage and bi-directional chargers, as part of an EU-funded vehicle-to-grid (V2G) project. The city was one of four European cities selected to pilot the €4.29m CleanMobilEnergy project.

Additionally, the council has purchased 40 new EVs to trial a V2G concept at its Eastcroft Depot site – a waste transfer facility – through an innovative energy management system. The project combines three main elements: solar panels at the Eastcroft Depot to generate electricity, a large battery to store energy until required, and a fleet of EVs for additional storage and operational purposes.

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