Smart charging (V1G) enables control over the charging of EVs in a way which allows the charging power to be increased and decreased or started or stopped as instructed by the charge point demand management software.
Vehicle to Grid (V2G) goes a step further and enables bi-directional charging so that the EV battery can be charged and discharged. This means that as well as using electricity from the grid to charge the EV, the stored energy in the EV battery can be reversed (or discharged) to power your home or send power back to the grid when needed during peak electricity demand. This would help to balance variations in the national energy production and consumption, and to help save you money by buying energy when it is cheaper and greener.
The original Electric Nation project successfully examined the impact of Electric Vehicle (EV) charging on local networks and also showed that smart charging is a highly effective way to mitigate any possible excessive demand. However, in the last two years bi-directional (or V2G) charging has emerged as a likely feature of the domestic EV charging market, with energy suppliers and car manufacturers now commercially offering combined car leasing and energy plans including bi-directional charging. In addition, the UK government has awarded up to £40m in grants to explore the introduction of this innovative technology.
With the increase in EV vehicle adoption and home charging comes increased stress on the national energy grid, especially during times of peak electricity demand (during the morning and early evening.) There is a balancing act to be struck between market solutions and the need for the Distribution Network Operator (DNO) to monitor and intervene when maximum network load is reached. These V2G services could provide an important additional tool for managing these areas. The Electric Nation Vehicle to Grid project can provide an important insight into how energy service providers and the DNO can operate to achieve maximum benefit for all customers.
Nissan has outpaced other car manufacturers by bringing V2G-compatible EV models to the market using CHAdeMO charging protocols, which are the only charging protocol that allows V2G charging at the moment.
The new Nissan LEAF and the Nissan e-NV200 are currently the only vehicles which the Electric Nation Vehicle to Grid project will be supporting. You’ll need to own or lease, and use as your primary vehicle, to be eligible to apply to the project.
Any Nissan LEAF or Nissan e-NV200 vans with at least a 30kWh+ battery are eligible to apply to the project.
Nissan batteries are designed to cope with the things that can increase battery degradation, like excessive rapid charging. Nissan has conducted – and continues to conduct – research investigating these impacts under various V2G conditions and scenarios. So far Nissan V2G trials haven’t shown increased ageing of the battery. But this is a new technology so Nissan will continue to monitor battery health closely. For your peace of mind, Nissan guarantees the battery warranty for LEAFs and e-NV200s participating in the trial will remain valid.
This project will, for the first time, operate up to five different energy supply V2G strategies simultaneously across 100 V2G chargers to imitate a future world where many people have EVs, V2G chargers and V2G energy services with their different energy suppliers.
The Electric Nation Vehicle to Grid Project aims to explore the impact of Vehicle to Grid (V2G) charging on the low voltage (LV) networks using participant trial charging and discharging data. This will demonstrate to what extent dynamic bi-directional energy services, based on vehicle battery storage, from a variety of energy suppliers, assists with the management of low voltage (LV) infrastructure and network demand.
The project will achieve these aims by:
The uptake of EVs is accelerating quickly and is expected to continue to do so. While the UK can generate enough electricity to charge these vehicles, charging more EVs would have a greater impact on local electricity networks, especially if it coincides with existing peak electricity demand which is usually between 06:00-08:00 and 17:00-20:00 on weekdays.
This trial of bi-directional energy services with up to five different energy suppliers provides a much greater use of energy flow of the stored energy within the vehicle battery which we can potentially utilise to support the LV network during times of this peak demand period.
By using V2G chargers, a demand management provider (such as CrowdCharge) can remotely communicate with bi-directional chargers to charge and discharge the EV battery during peak and off-peak demand times. Some EV owners may be able to programme some of their preferences through the CrowdCharge app. This information will be used to charge the vehicle’s battery at a time or rate best suited to the network but within the car owner’s tolerances. i.e. it would never discharge below the minimum driving range that the trial participant would be able to set.
Local network operators could use this type of service when local networks are stressed as an alternative to replacing their infrastructure (e.g. cables in roads). Data gathered from the trial will be used to help local network operators identify which parts of their network are most at risk as EV ownership increases and how these different V2G services can be part of the solution.
The Electric Nation Vehicle to Grid project is hosted by Western Power Distribution (WPD) and is delivered by the following collaboration partners:
In addition, there are supporting collaborators:
The Distribution Network Operator (DNO) providing funding through the Network Innovation Allowance (NIA) and Ofgem. WPD is overseeing the project.
The project lead responsible for project management, engagement, recruitment, installations and management of participants throughout the project including all customer-facing activity and managing all aspects of customer research, PR, marketing and dissemination of learning for the project.
CrowdCharge is also responsible for providing an end-user support helpline during the trial, along with procurement and installation of V2G charging equipment, the end user interface and charging management platform and data analysis, among other tasks.
CrowdCharge has extensive experience in the above areas including with previous EV grid projects such as My Electric Avenue and Electric Nation (2016-2019), providing a demand management control system for the latter project across 350 smart chargers. CrowdCharge has also spent two years working with a respected and experienced Japanese vehicle to home (V2H) supplier, with over 6,000 units installed in Japan, and has successfully adapted this hardware for the UK market; the hardware is UK grid compliant and was deployed in a mini-V2G trial within the Electric Nation project.
DriveElectric is responsible for helping CrowdCharge during project recruitment. DriveElectric successfully recruited 674 participants for the first Electric Nation smart charging trial.
EA Technology is responsible for modelling of low voltage (LV) network impact for future EV charging scenarios and to support development of policy recommendations during the project’s dissemination stage.
There will be four project energy suppliers will partner with CrowdCharge on the project and will be managing various groups of chargers. CrowdCharge will allocate participants to the onboard suppliers.
Electric Nation Vehicle to Grid is the customer-facing brand of Electric Nation PoweredUp, a Western Power Distribution (WPD) and Network Innovation Allowance funded project. WPD’s collaboration partner in the project is CrowdCharge.
Electric Nation Vehicle to Grid Project is the customer facing name of WPD’s Electric Nation PoweredUp Project. Both these project names refer to the same project.