Even before electric vehicles began their comeback, researchers started to develop technology that enable car owners to make money by selling power stored in batteries back to the grid. Under V2G, EVs charge their vehicles off-peak (primarily overnight), and then sell power back to grid operators during peak hours and pocket the substantial difference in power costs.
Vehicle to grid technology (V2G) is approaching the commercialization stage thanks in part to the work of Professor Willet Kempton of the University of Delaware, who is now the CTO at startup Nuvve. Nuvve recently found its first customer in Denmark, where 30 vehicles will be used to support the grid.
V2G is envisioned as a consumer application, but automakers have resisted the idea because of the concern over potential reductions in battery life from sending power to and from the vehicles on a daily basis. This also requires adding an onboard inverter so that the vehicle can send power upstream since most vehicles were designed only to take power from the grid. Nuvve claims that there are 5 vehicles either on or coming to market that won’t require additional hardware, but neither the Nissan Leaf nor Chevrolet Volt are in this category.
V2G requires aggregating the power potential from hundreds to thousands of vehicles into a sizeable power market that would be useful to utilities and grid operators. That is Nuvve’s secret sauce – a server that can track the availability of the vehicles and send signals and data back and forth with the grid.
Pike Research expects that V2G as a consumer offering won’t hit the mainstream until another 4-5 years. Today we’re in a pilot phase, especially in Europe and Asia, where several projects are using EVs as the antidote to the natural variations in wind and solar power. EV owners who like to view their choice of transportation as green will be happy to note that increases in EV sales can make it easier for utilities to expand their reliance on reliable power.
Even without the additional hardware, vehicles can make money from the grid simply by speeding or slowing the rates at which the batteries are charged. While not full V2G, EVs can play a role in “ancillary services” such as frequency or voltage regulation today with the right systems in place. Many of the EV charging station and electric vehicle service companies see the potential for making money for themselves and vehicle owners by participating in ancillary services in the near term. This role of energy aggregator is already being pursued by startups that are looking to innovate ahead of the glacial pace at which most utilities shift to something new. V2G technology will be explored fully in an upcoming Pike Research report.
Article by John Gartner, appearing courtesy the Matter Network.