With the EV industry developing at pace, innovation is moving beyond development and design of vehicles themselves, and into unlocking the potential of stored energy in an EV. According to an Emerging Trends study, cars spend 90% of their time parked. That's a lot of electrons sitting unused. V2G technology harnesses this unused energy and sends it back to grid for use at peak times. Traditionally energy suppliers relied on buying dirty and expensive excess energy when required, from fossil fuelled power plants. And as nobody can predict when the sun will shine or the wind will blow, renewable sources of energy are not completely reliable yet.
Bi-directional transmission of energy is mutually beneficial to both EV owner and energy supplier. V2G technology allows the EV owner to earn money from the clean energy sitting in their parked car. Open Energi analysis estimates an EV owner could earn between £500 to £1500 a year, while their car sits on their drive. This in turn balances the grid, reducing the risk of blackouts, or indeed surges.
While mass market adoption of the EV is generally viewed as the future of renewable and sustainable transport, there are questions to be answered around mass consumption of energy at traditionally off-peak times. V2G can potentially respond to some of these questions by allowing energy suppliers to buy back excess energy. V2G technology doesn't only offer monetary benefits, it could be a vital component in stabilising the pressure renewable energy puts on the traditional grid.
On the commercial side, there are potential gains for fleet management. If a company has already invested in an electric fleet, they can potentially earn money when the vehicles are not in use with V2G tech. A trial in Denmark carried out by Nuvve found that, over two years, a fleet of 10 Nissan e-NV200 electric vans each performed 100 hours of V2G, selling a total of 130,000kWh to the grid. This saw each van generate €1,860 (£1,600) per year. Confidence is clear to see in the adoption of EV fleets, with a survey of over 500 fleet managers showing that 86% plan to introduce EV's to their fleet in the next five years. So it stands to reason that if a business can harness an income stream from their vehicles, they will embrace this financial incentive.
V2G has attracted interest and investment - the UK Government awarded £30m in funding to 21 V2G projects to explore and trial both the technology and commercial opportunities.