Automotive industry leader Nissan and multinational power company Enel have confirmed plans to launch a major vehicle-to-grid (V2G) trial – the first ever carried out in the UK. The trial will work by installing and connecting one hundred V2G units at locations agreed by private and fleet owners of the Nissan LEAF and e-NV200 electric van. By giving Nissan electric vehicle owners the ability to plug their vehicles into the V2G system, owners will have the flexibility and power to sell stored energy from their vehicle battery back to the National Grid. This announcement follows the signing of the Nissan-Enel V2G partnership agreement in Paris in December 2015 during the 21st UN Conference on Climate Change (COP21) and the subsequent kick-off, in January 2016, of the installation of 40 V2G units in Denmark.
The announcement heralds an exciting era for energy management in the UK. Not only will Nissan electric vehicle owners be able to play an active role in grid stability, providing an alternate source of income, but it will revolutionise how energy is supplied to the grid. Once scaled up, the V2G technology can become a game-changer for owners of Nissan EV in the UK as they become fully fledged and active participants in the UK energy market.
Industry projections show that by 2050 there might be twice as many cars on the road as there is today – a staggering 2.4 billion. Delivering and managing that growth in a way that is sustainable for the world, requires smart thinking.
Nissan, as the pioneer of electric vehicles, alongside Enel, a worldwide leader in smart grid technology and advanced energy metering, have been looking at ways to use electric vehicles beyond traditional mobility. Nissan electric vehicles will be used for more than just getting from A-to-B. They will turn into clean mobile energy units whose unused power can be sent back to the grid to power homes, offices, schools and hospitals.
Currently if all 18,000 Nissan electric vehicles in the UK were connected to the energy network, they would generate the equivalent output of a 180 MW power plant. If that was scaled up in a future where all the vehicles on UK roads are electric, vehicle-to-grid technology could generate a virtual power plant of up to 370 GW. This energy capacity would be enough to power the UK, Germany and France.
V2G technology allows electric vehicles to be fully integrated into the electricity grid and will help improve grid capability to handle renewable power, making renewable sources even more widely integrated and affordable. V2G charging infrastructure developed by Enel gives private EV owners and businesses with large EV fleets the opportunity to create mobile energy hubs by integrating their vehicles into the grid. The system works by allowing Nissan EV owners to connect to the grid to charge at low-demand, cheap tariff periods, with an option to then use the electricity stored in the vehicle’s battery at home and at work when costs are higher, or even feed back to the grid which could generate additional revenue for the EV owner.