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  • Jul 23, 2020

  • 4 min read


V2G – 1.7m electric vehicles online from… whenever?!

Electric Vehicles have followed batteries to become the hot topic in the energy world. For the most part, the focus in the market has been on car design, battery technology, charging, and range anxiety. But as the technology develops further, V2G is becoming an increasingly explored topic.

V2G might be a relatively innovative idea, but battery storage as such is not! Even though the development of lithium-ion batteries won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 2019, the winners had developed the first commercially viable battery in 1985 already. V2G is building on the diverse attributes of battery technology by finding yet another use – not only to power a vehicle’s motor, but the grid.

The reason V2G is so fascinating is because it reminds us of the connection between the vehicle and the wider energy ecosystem. Technically, it is not your vehicle that is connected to the grid – it’s the battery that’s in it. As an EV owner doing V2G you have the ability to be both the supplier and the consumer. All thanks to the battery because as an energy asset, it can both charge (consume) and discharge (supply).

According to the latest predictions from BNEF, there will be 1.7m passenger EV sales in 2020 alone. Does this mean 1.7m EVs doing V2G? No. For starters, simply having an EV and a charger doesn’t enable a user to do V2G. There is currently only a limited number of vehicles and chargers that can provide this functionality. In addition, the grid connection in V2G is complex and requires a network assessment and a number of permissions that a regular EV charger wouldn’t. After all, becoming a generator and being able to push electricity back onto the grid is not something to be taken lightly, even if the load within an EV battery is relatively small.

In the UK, the Distribution Network Operators (DNOs) have the responsibility to review new connections. In practical terms, power engineers and designers have to assess whether there is spare electrical capacity in the specific location to charge an EV, but also whether there is a risk of too much power being pushed back onto the system. Why? Because of grid balancing.

In its simplest terms, grid balancing is matching electricity supply with electricity demand (or consumption). It is the responsibility of the network operator, National Grid, to ensure supply and consumption are matched. Significant imbalances can lead, in the worst case, to blackouts. Due to its ability to push power back onto the grid, the process and assessment to connect a V2G charger is very similar to that of a generator.

In summary, simply having bidirectional charging ability within the car is only one of three steps to doing V2G:

Having a car that has the right technology to do V2G

Having a charger capable of V2G

Obtaining a grid connection permit from the DNO

Although it might seem like there are a number of obstacles to doing V2G, there is also a lot of value to be unlocked. That’s why we have designed Powerloop – a package through which we give you the tools to do V2G (the car and the charger), we support and guide you through the DNO process and if approved, help you get everything set up. And to recognise the value of making your vehicle available to the grid, we will pay you £30 every month you participate in the scheme.

This is V2G in action, this is Powerloop.