NEWS ANALYSIS: V2G tech could transform vans into mobile power stations

Date: Thursday, April 12, 2018

Through vehicle-to-grid technology van operators running electric vehicles could turn a profit by selling surplus power back to the National Grid. Jack Carfrae reports.

The Government and businesses are exploring plug-in and sell-back initiatives

Vehicle-to-grid (V2G) technology could allow LCV operators to generate profit from electric vehicles.

The concept involves selling excess energy from plug-in vans’ batteries back to the grid at peak time, coupled with overnight charging to exploit lower energy costs.

Speaking to What Van?, Alex Baker, managing director of technology company Fleet Innovations, said delivery fleets stood to benefit most from the model: “Vehicle-to-grid means that you can, as well as put energy into a vehicle, take energy out. If you can take energy out of a vehicle, you’ve got a great big battery there, and that energy can be used by you, as an organisation, to power your own requirements, or it could also be used to sell back to the grid.”

Baker continued: “Think of a company like Royal Mail. They are predominantly doing most of their work during the morning into the early afternoon, so they’ve got the capability to park all their vehicles up at, say, four o’clock in the afternoon. The National Grid wants some energy; Royal Mail sells the remaining energy in its vehicles to the National Grid for two or three hours. Then, between, say, eight o’clock and four in the morning, you put energy back into those vehicles, and away you go.”

The Government is also putting its weight behind the model. In January of this year, the Office for Low Emission Vehicles and the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy awarded £9.8m to a consortium of organisations for a demonstrator project known as e4Future.

The initiative will comprise analyses of charging data and the technical characteristics of both the vehicles and the electricity network in action, with a view to establishing a commercial V2G  offering for fleet operators running plug-in cars and vans.

Nissan, the National Grid, UK Power Networks, Northern Powergrid, Newcastle University and Imperial College London are all involved.


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