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A Honda e using vehicle to grid technology
  • Dec 6, 2023

  • 5 min read


What is V2G?

Okay, so you’ve heard the term V2G or vehicle to grid and want to know what it means? Well, you’ve come to the right place.

In this guide to V2G, we answer:

What is V2G and what does it do?

V2G (or vehicle to grid) might sound a bit complicated, but just think of it as an upgrade to your EV. An upgrade that allows you to not only use the energy in your EV to nip around town, but for it to moonlight as a power bank for your home and neighbourhood.

V2G is an amazing piece of technology that lets your EV play both sides of the power game - not just sipping electricity from the grid, but giving it back too. Your car becomes a mobile energy station - soaking up power when there’s less demand for energy, but then discharging it back to the grid (to power your home and others), when there’s more demand.

But why would we want to use V2G? Well…

What are the benefits of V2G?

1. It’s a battery that can power your home

V2G was drastically pushed forward in 2011 in Japan. After numerous natural disasters (the Tōhoku earthquake, tsunami and corresponding Fukushima nuclear disaster), it became an important piece of tech for a country suffering from months of intermittent power.

V2G was pushed forward so that EVs could act as backup generators. So, when there was a problem with energy supply, the energy stored in an EV could be used to power homes and neighbourhoods, until the energy on the grid was restored.

2. It enables more renewable energy (even when wind and solar aren’t available)

When energy is in high demand, sometimes, the grid will have to use fossil fuels to power homes - something we could do without.

However, say you’d charged your EV with renewable energy when there was lower demand (such as overnight), you could then send the energy from your EV back into the grid during high-demand times, powering your home and others with renewable energy.

Making it not only better for the planet, but also for your pocket.

3. It could save the country (and you) a lot of dosh

Industry experts estimate that a smart energy system such as V2G could save the UK up to £40bn by 2050. There’s a few reasons for this, but a huge one is that the government spends A LOT of money turning wind turbines off when demand is low (not sure why? See our blog on grid balancing).

If V2G was available, instead of spending that money on turning wind turbines off, the energy the turbines produce would be sold at a low price to energy companies, who would then store it in your car - saving the government money, but also you, because charging your car becomes dirt cheap.

This is why our Intelligent Octopus Go EV tariff is so cheap - it uses clever tech to do pretty much this, without you having to think about it. And how did we manage to do this? Off the back of our Powerloop project, that’s how.

4. In the future, it could make you money

When V2G becomes more widely available, there could be the opportunity to make money through selling energy back to the grid.

For example, if you charge during off-peak times at cheaper prices, you could then sell the energy you’ve stored back to the grid at peak times, making you money and possibly even neutralising your charging costs.

What is Powerloop?

Between 2018 and 2022, OEV partnered with six other companies - The Energy Saving Trust, UK Power Networks, ChargePoint Services, OpenEnergi, Guidehouse, and our sister company Octopus Energy. Together we created a trial of a V2G system -  known as Powerloop. We wanted to learn about how everyday people would interact with V2G technology.

We installed the lightest and smallest V2G chargers available. And created some algorithms and tech to fuel EVs when energy was cheap and green, limiting the use of dirty energy.

What did we find? People loved it. It saved them money and it used cleaner energy, all without them having to do anything. So off this, we created the Intelligent Octopus Go EV tariff.

And, to go one step further, we've managed to create the first publicly available V2G tariff - Octopus Power Pack.

Now, maybe you’re wondering if all EVs can provide V2G…

Can all EVs provide V2G?

At the minute, in the UK, no. However, in places like Japan, it’s actually mandated in the Law that all EVs must provide V2G.

Some cars in the UK could however have the ability to provide V2G in the future with certain software and hardware upgrades.

Also, the UK grid isn’t 100% ready, yet...

However, we hope in the future V2G becomes a standard feature to help bring more renewable energy onto the grid.

Is V2G worth it?

In short - definitely. V2G isn’t just a tech buzzword, it’s the future on wheels. We’re talking about a greener, more stable future, that saves us all money, how couldn’t it be worth it?

Want to find out more, check out our video on V2G.