Vehicle-To-Grid (V2G) Technology: The Complete Guide For The UK

V2G EV charger


Electric Cars: The Basics


For those of you new to zero-emission electric driving, we recommend a read of the following articles:


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Many of us in the UK have now come across electric cars, as electric driving popularity continues to increase unabated in the UK. In fact, 2022 has been another record year for both, battery-electric vehicles (BEVs) and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs), as the combined market share of passenger electric cars crosses 20% in the UK.

The growth of the sale of electric cars is not confined to the UK. A number of key international markets can boast a similar increase in market share for electric vehicles (EVs). The global penetration of EVs is expected to increase phenomenally this decade. According to the IEA (International Energy Agency), “The Net Zero Emissions by 2050 Scenario sees an electric car fleet of over 300 million in 2030 and electric cars accounting for 60% of new car sales”.

Put another way, the IEA expects at least 300 million EV batteries in use! The widespread deployment of electric driving will impact our lives in many ways, but none as much as the stability and balance of power generation, distribution and supply. Every EV owner will become an integral participant of a country’s grid infrastructure network. As part of this ‘future’, which is fast becoming a reality today, bidirectional technology will take centre stage, in particular, evolving technologies like:  Vehicle-to-Grid (V2G)Vehicle-to-Load (V2L) and Vehicle-to-Vehicle (V2V) and more!


Vehicle-to-Grid (V2G): An Introduction


Though V2G charging may be an evolving technology tied closely to the development and maturity of electric vehicles, the research on V2G technology has been on since 1997. The 2011 Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster further ‘catalysed’ the research on vehicle-to-grid technology, to find solutions to further improve grid stability and resilience in such adverse predicaments.

It is such pioneering research that has led to a wider commercialisation of this technology today. Key stakeholders like, automotive manufacturers, grid networks, charge point manufacturers and others, are committed to further developing the immense potential of V2G application. We can expect this ‘multi-sector collaboration’ to only intensify as we migrate to widespread deployment of electric cars in the UK and global markets.

V2G is an innovative bidirectional technology that allows the onboard EV battery to be charged and discharged i.e. electrical energy to be exported/ discharged from the onboard EV battery to the grid via a V2G compatible EV charger. It also allows for vital informational flow (data) to the grid. In effect, the V2G technology allows an EV battery to be used as a grid-connected energy storage unit.

Like conventional petrol and diesel cars, do expect electric vehicles to be parked the majority of the time. V2G helps leverage this ‘idle time’ to support the electricity grid network, in particular, in times of peak demand (also sometimes referred to as Demand Side Response). When responding to the requirements of the grid, EVs could charge to their maximum level or change their rate of charging when the supply is high and subsequently, EV batteries could inject electricity back to the grid during peaks in consumption or in response to grid demands thereby serving as temporary energy storage units. Off-peak rates have lower tariffs while peak rates have higher tariffs resulting in cost efficiencies for EV owners i.e. making you cash!

V2G also offers scope for incorporating a greater share of intermittent renewable energy (RE) in the grid, by allowing EVs to act as decentralised storage units during periods which are conducive for increased RE production.

You can take advantage of V2G sitting in the comfort of your home enjoying a cup of tea, whilst your EV parked in the garage evacuates the power to the grid. You will need to install a V2G charger that allows bidirectional charging. If the V2G charger is also installed in your workplace, then you could also sell electricity while your car is parked at work.

V2G will also help reduce the overall infrastructure investment and ‘pressure’ for the National Grid and Distribution Network Operators (DNOs), as every home has the potential to become a stand-alone on-site generator and consumer of electricity by leveraging renewable energy via small-scale solar panel (photovoltaic) or small-scale wind turbines (wind energy).

A number of V2G trials are already underway globally. There are currently 107 projects across 25 countries involving 6,600 + V2G enabled EV chargers. The UK also has a number of ongoing V2G projects. In December 2018, OVO Energy installed the first vehicle-grid-charger in a customers home. OVO had announced its V2G charging solution in April 2018 and is also involved with the UK government £30 million V2G competition, which also includes the Nissan Leaf, the first electric car with V2G technology. Below are some of the other V2G projects:

V2G ProjectsPartners Location
Sciurus Cenex, Indra Renewable Technologies Limited, Nissan Motor (GB) Ltd, OVO Technology LtdUK
Power LoopOctopus Energy, Chargepoint Service Ltd, Energy Saving Trust Enterprises Limited, Navigant Consulting (Europe) Ltd, Octopus Electric Vehicles Ltd, Open Energi Ltd, UK Power Network Holdings LtdUK
e4FutureNissan Motor (GB) Ltd, E.ON Energy Solutions Ltd, Imperial College London, National Grid ESO, Newcastle University, Northern Powergrid (Yorkshire) plc, UK Power Networks Holdings LtdUK
V2GOEDF Energy, Arrival Ltd, CleanCar.io, EO Charging, Oxfordshire County Council, University of Oxford, Upside Energy LtdUK
V2StreetDurham County Council, EDF Energy R&D UK Centre Ltd, Honda R&D Europe (UK) Ltd, Imperial College London, Loughborough University, Southend On Sea Borough Council, Upside Energy, e-Car Club, Ubitricity Distributed Energy Systems UK Ltd, UK Power Networks Holdings LtdUK
ParkerNuvve, Nissan, Groupe PSA, Mitsubishi Motors, Insero, Frederiksberg Forsyning, Enel,
Mitsubishi Corp, Technical University of Denmark
Denmark
Smart Solar Charging LomboXnet, Utrecht Sustainability Institute, Last Mile Solutions, We Drive Solar, New Solar, Vidyn, Jedlix, Stedin, Utrecht University, University of Applied Sciences UtrechtNetherlands
City-Zen Smart CityAlliander NV, Enervalis, Magnum CapNetherlands
SEEV-4 City Cenex, City of Oslo, AVERE: Leicester City Council, KU Leuven, Hogeschool van Amsterdam, City of Amsterdam, Johan Cruijff ArenA, POLIS, Northumbria University, Cenex NederlandLoughborough
& Leicester, UK;
Amsterdam,
Netherlands;
Kortrijk,
Belgium &
Oslo, Norway

Though the potential for V2G is immense, a number of challenges remain, to enable widespread adoption of this technology. Some of these include:

  • Regulations need to be developed. In particular, in relation to data privacy etc.
  • EV chargers compatible with V2G technology limited.
  • Electric cars compatible with V2G technology limited.
  • Costs for enabling V2G technology are still high.
  • Awareness of V2G technology and its benefits is limited.

Benefits Of Vehicle-to-Grid (V2G) Charging


Benefits: V2G
Lower energy costs:V2G can lower utility costs to include, lowering wholesale and retail energy costs
Improving the grid’s response ability:V2G can improve the stability of the intra-day supply and demand needs, improving the grids ability to meet the needs of peak demand
Improving power quality:V2G can improve power quality by controlling voltage and power factors
Increase resilience:V2G can improve the resilience of the grid and electricity network in significantly adverse conditions
Increase use of renewable energy:V2G enables an increase in the contribution of renewable energy to the national energy generation mix. The higher the contribution of RE, the greener the power supplied
Reduce cost of EV ownership:V2G can reduce the cost of EV ownership by enabling EV owners to earn from exporting energy to the grid
Improves national energy security:V2G can improve the national energy security of a country by reducing dependence on imported energy
Improve environmental impact:V2G can improve the environmental impact of energy usage and transportation by reducing the dependence on fossil fuels

Quasar: The First Bidirectional Charger For Home Use


quasar wallbox ev charger
Wallbox Quasar Charging Point (credit: Wallbox)

Innovation at the leading edge, the Quasar home EV charger is set to revolutionise electric car charging with vehicle-to-grid (V2G) capability. The electric car battery can be used to power your electric car and your home. Quasar is the lightest and smallest DC charger of its kind.


Key Features And Specifications


Key FeaturesQuasar Home EV Charging (7.4kW)
Model: Quasar
Charger: DC
Connector Type:CHAdeMO
Dimensions: 350x350x150mm (without cable)
Weight: 15.5 kg (without cable)/ 22 kg (with cable)
Cable length: 5m
Maximum Output: 7.4 kW (1P)
Protection Rating:IP54 / IK08
Connectivity: Wi-Fi / Ethernet / Bluetooth / 3G/4G Connection
User Identification: Face Recognition / Wallbox App / RFID
User Interface: Gesture Sensor / Wallbox App
Charging Status Info: RGB LED / Screen information

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Author

Ashvin Suri

Ashvin has been involved with the renewables, energy efficiency and infrastructure sectors since 2006. He is passionate about the transition to a low-carbon economy and electric transportation. Ashvin commenced his career in 1994, working with US investment banks in New York. Post his MBA from the London Business School (1996-1998), he continued to work in investment banking at Flemings (London) and JPMorgan (London). His roles included corporate finance advisory, M&A and capital raising. He has been involved across diverse industry sectors, to include engineering, aerospace, oil & gas, airports and automotive across Asia and Europe. In 2010, he co-founded a solar development platform, for large scale ground and roof solar projects to include the UK, Italy, Germany and France. He has also advised on various renewable energy (wind and solar) utility scale projects working with global institutional investors and independent power producers (IPP’s) in the renewable energy sector. He has also advised in key international markets like India, to include advising the TVS Group, a multi-billion dollar industrial and automotive group in India. Ashvin has also advised Indian Energy, an IPP backed by Guggenheim (a US$ 165 billion fund). He has also advised AMIH, a US$ 2 billion, Singapore based group. Ashvin has also worked in the real estate and infrastructure sector, to including working with the Matrix Group (a US$ 4 billion property group in the UK) to launch one of the first few institutional real estate funds for the Indian real estate market. The fund was successfully launched with significant institutional support from the UK/ European markets. He has also advised on water infrastructure, to include advising a Swedish clean technology company in the water sector. He is also a member of the Forbury Investment Network advisory committee. He has also been involved with a number of early stage ventures.

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