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Major Vehicle-to-Grid Trial Initiating In UK

Vehicle-to-grid trials have been going on for years. A new one in the UK, though, goes to new levels and might be the trial that helps vehicle-to-grid (V2G) technology break through.

Vehicle-to-grid trials have been going on for years. A new one in the UK, though, goes to new levels and might be the trial that helps vehicle-to-grid (V2G) technology break through. The thing is, as with several earlier trials, this is limited to Nissan EV drivers — Nissan electric vehicles’ CHAdeMO charging capability is fully functional with V2G.

Electric Nation vehicle-to-grid trial installs its first V2G charger at home of Rasita Chudasama. Image courtesy Electric Nation.

Who Can Participate?

Overall, the Electric Nation trial will include 450 Nissan EV drivers. To start, though, “CrowdCharge is recruiting 100 people for the trial to help Distribution Network Operators (DNOs) and others to understand how V2G charging could work with their electricity networks.” Aside from the relatively high number of participants, what is expected to be particularly useful with this pilot program is that multiple energy companies will be involved, not just one. The extra diversity and integrated approach should help the system better resemble a market-wide implementation.

“Electric Nation Vehicle to Grid is the first V2G project to use multiple energy suppliers instead of just one. This means that the trial is a more realistic simulation of a future world in which many streets will have a number of EVs using V2G chargers operated by different energy suppliers. Flexitricity has recently been announced as the project’s first energy partner, with up to four more to follow.”

The trial is a project of Western Power Distribution (WPD) and CrowdCharge, which has created a demand management charging platform that is used in the trial. They have more than enough interested participants, but due to an aim of roping in a wide variety of variables and ownership cases, they are still taking applications and are recruiting Nissan EV drivers in the Midlands, South West, and South Wales regions.

“Although we’ve already had more than four times as many applicants as there are places for the trial, recruitment remains open to ensure the project secures the best possible mix in the 100 participants,” Ricky Duke, Innovation & Low Carbon Network Engineer at WPD, adds. “It’s really important for us to see how our customers engage with innovative energy services such as V2G so we can factor it in to our future investment plans.”

More details about participation can be found here.

The Money

Trial participants receive free installation of an EV smart charger worth £5,500. The trial goes for one year. The participants are expected to earn up to £120 from March 2021 to March 2022.

While £120 is indeed more than £0, I think this does highlight one of the things that has held back V2G — the financial benefit is probably not high enough to entice a large number of people when considering the mild hassle of participating, potential concerns about extra use of the battery (and potential degradation over time), and the need to get a smart charger, of course (though, perhaps that is something that would always be incentivized by utilities/energy networks or the government). That said, I wouldn’t mind an extra £120 and would be happy to participate.

The Tech

“The trial is using the Wallbox Quasar, the smallest and lightest bidirectional charger for home use. By using a vehicle to grid charger, EVs can put energy back into the grid at peak times. …

“By plugging in at specified times and putting energy back into the grid, active participants of the Electric Nation Vehicle to Grid project are expected to earn a minimum reward up to the monetary value of £120, available over the one-year trial period from March 2021 to March 2022.”

The CrowdCharge platform will help the Nissan EV owners to charge up when electricity is cheapest, and send electricity into the grid when there is high demand for electricity and the EV owners can make some money off of the energy trading.

“Vehicle to grid charging is a great concept, but it hasn’t yet been trialled sufficiently on Britain’s electricity networks to enable it to be rolled out on a country-wide basis – hence the need for this project,” Mike Potter, CEO of CrowdCharge, contends. “This trial will provide a smart solution for the management of electric vehicle charging and will study the real-world benefits of V2G.”

Here’s a list of core project partners:

  • Western Power Distribution (WPD) is the project Distribution Network Operator
  • CrowdCharge is leading the project
  • DriveElectric is helping with recruitment of trial participants
  • EA Technology is modelling the network impact

Previous & Ongoing V2G Trials

As I noted at the top, we’ve been covering V2G trials for years. Here are some previous stories on earlier pilot programs and some others that are currently ongoing:

  1. 11 kW Bi-Directional ABB Chargers Coming To France, UK, Germany, Italy, Belgium
  2. On the Cutting Edge of Vehicle to Grid
  3. Nissan & E.ON Partner On Large UK Vehicle-To-Grid Project
  4. 472 Vehicle-To-Grid Smart Chargers Coming To The Netherlands
  5. UK “Electric Nation” EV Smart Charger Trial — Initial Findings
  6. EDF Energy & Nuvve Corporation To Install 1,500 V2G Chargers In The UK
  7. Dominion Energy Virginia Wants 1,050 Electric School Buses By 2025
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Zach is tryin' to help society help itself one word at a time. He spends most of his time here on CleanTechnica as its director, chief editor, and CEO. Zach is recognized globally as an electric vehicle, solar energy, and energy storage expert. He has presented about cleantech at conferences in India, the UAE, Ukraine, Poland, Germany, the Netherlands, the USA, Canada, and Curaçao. Zach has long-term investments in Tesla [TSLA], NIO [NIO], Xpeng [XPEV], Ford [F], ChargePoint [CHPT], Amazon [AMZN], Piedmont Lithium [PLL], Lithium Americas [LAC], Albemarle Corporation [ALB], Nouveau Monde Graphite [NMGRF], Talon Metals [TLOFF], Arclight Clean Transition Corp [ACTC], and Starbucks [SBUX]. But he does not offer (explicitly or implicitly) investment advice of any sort.


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