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A person with red nails are holding a charger and charging a black electric vehicle with an Octopus Electric Vehicle Powerloop sticker on the back screen
  • Mar 20, 2024

  • 4 min read


Powerloop: Vehicle-to-Grid in Action

Powerloop* provided a crucial insight into the viability of Vehicle-to-Grid (V2G), as well as helping improve the customer experience for the installation of other smart technologies.

The Powerloop project was run by Octopus Electric Vehicles in partnership with UK Power Networks, Energy Saving Trust, ENGIE EV Solutions, Open Energi, Guidehouse and our sister company, Octopus Energy.

Here, we chat about:

What is vehicle-to-grid?

In short, vehicle-to-grid (V2G) enables EVs to both generate and use energy, using some really really smart tech.

You can find out all about V2G, in our blog: What is V2G?

How did Powerloop work, and why is it important?

In short, Powerloop was V2G in action.

During testing, we combined the Nissan LEAF with the Wallbox Quasar V2G charger.

Powerloop gathered real-world data to help show how V2G can be a valuable asset to the UK’s energy network by helping reduce peak grid demand and making the most of renewable energy whilst using an EV.

One participant, Sarah, cited this dual benefit as being an important reason for getting involved, saying:

‘When I heard about V2G/Powerloop it provided the additional incentive to decide to go for it [the LEAF]. I buy into the idea of flattening the peak to improve the ability of green energy to meet demand at peak times’

On the charging side of things, Powerloop encouraged participants to charge their car overnight, when grid demand is low and renewable energy supply is often high.

During times of peak electricity demand, between 6-9pm, participants were encouraged to plug their Nissan LEAF into the Wallbox charger to provide unused energy stored in the car battery back to the grid.

Algorithms were put in place to ensure the car’s state of charge never dropped below 30%, meaning there was always enough charge to use during the evening if required.

The 6pm-5am timeframe was set to make it as easy as possible for users to complete a full cycle, lining up with the times people tend to arrive home and then leave the next day.

Focusing on the car, the Nissan LEAF is currently the only vehicle able to do bi-directional charging through a CHAdeMO connection.

But why is this important?

By combining the benefits of an EV with V2G technology, Powerloop enabled more conscious energy consumption whilst at the same time helping reduce pollution caused by vehicles.

As we move to a greener energy system, we need to work on energy production being available at all times of demand.

By charging an EV during the night, the car can make use of this renewable energy at a time when electricity is often cheaper compared to peak times.

People are already doing this without V2G thanks to smart charging tariffs. But what makes Powerloop different and so exciting is that, by discharging stored energy back to the grid during peak demand hours, the car battery can help reduce our dependence on fossil fuel generation. This is just the beginning in terms of V2G, and we are leading the way by trialling this tech to learn how to bring it to the mass market. If this technology is rolled out on a national scale, we could see a fundamental change in how we interact with the grid, creating a smart, more sustainable energy system.

What did we learn from Powerloop?

People loved it. It saved them money and it used cleaner energy, all without them having to do anything. This has then led to us creating the Intelligent Octopus Go EV tariff. And now what is essentially Poweloop version 2.0… Power Pack.