What’s Vehicle to Grid Technology (V2G) about, why is it exciting and what’s the state of the industry?
I’ve been aware of the V2G technology for some time but the first time I got really excited about it was about a year ago. The idea has been around for several years now; it allows an electric vehicle (EV) to not only charge from the grid but also to supply energy stored in the batteries back into the grid. I was talking with a German masters student I met while travelling who was studying grid-scale energy storage. With volatile renewable energy sources such as solar and wind becoming ever cheaper, more efficient and more necessary, grid-scale energy storage is becoming a very important conversation to have. The student said it’s a really difficult problem to solve and no one is certain of the answer, but he suspected V2G technology is likely to become one of the major primary solutions!
The idea is that electric vehicles will catch on at a similar rate to renewable energy. This will shift our energy consumption from the fossil fuels to renewable electricity, increasing our electricity consumption, and also providing the opportunity for the EVs to stabilize the grid. Since most vehicles are sitting still 95% of the time, they can be used to store energy and feed it back to the grid during times of high consumption. For example, EVs could take energy generated by solar during the day and feed it back to the grid in the evening when people consume more power.
The most exciting part of this technology?! It’s here! Pilot projects have been running for several years but companies like Nuvve and Nissan are just starting to bring it to the commercial stage. It will take some time before it becomes widespread as only the 2016 (and up) Nissan Leaf and the newest Mitsubishi Outlander are capable of V2G, and the V2G charger has to be custom installed & programmed. Technological, economical and logistical hurdles are still being worked out but this technology has huge potential and we are keeping a close eye on potential opportunities.
~ Garnet Borch, E.I.T