The Future of Vehicle to Grid EV Charging?

Our title for today is shamelessly plagiarised from an article of the same name on the Electric Nation web site, which begins as follows:

By 2050, up to 45% of households will actively provide Vehicle to Grid (V2G) services, according to National Grid’s Future Energy Scenarios, published in July 2020. But will the average Electric Vehicle (EV) driver be able to use V2G charging over the next few years?

A very good question and a very interesting infographic! The article continues:

The rapid growth in the numbers of electric vehicles on our roads will mean more demand on local electricity networks if EVs are all plugged in at the same time, such as during the peak between 5pm and 7pm in the evening. Smart charging, or ‘V1G’, which allows management of the time when EV charging occurs – as trialled by the original Electric Nation project – will help to avoid this situation.

V2G charging will be more effective than smart charging. This is due to the ability to link EVs together and put significant levels of energy back into the grid at peak times, like a huge decentralised power station. V2G will therefore help to reduce the grid’s need for additional energy generation, typically supplied by fossil fuels at peak times, as well as reducing demand on electricity networks, and allowing EV drivers to use greener and cheaper electricity.

So far so good, I agree entirely. However the next paragraph states:

However at present only Nissan Battery Electric Vehicles (BEVs) (LEAF & e-NV200 van) can use V2G due to their CHAdeMO charging technology. Virtually all other EVs instead use CCS charging technology; the body promoting CCS, CharIN, has said it will be 2025 before it can support V2G. The EV manufacturers also need to develop their own products and bring them to market.

That bit is being slightly economical with the truth. For example certain Mitsubishi electric vehicles sport CHAdeMO ports, and whilst I’ve never actually tried them in anger I have no reason to doubt the claims that:

Hitachi Europe Ltd., Mitsubishi Motors and ENGIE have demonstrated a pioneering project to explore the potential for electric vehicles to act as a means of energy storage for an office building. For this demonstration, the consortium linked the first vehicle to everything (V2X) charger to ENGIE’s office building in Zaandam.

You may however note that I did doubt the “first vehicle to everything (V2X) charger” bit! Moreover a range of EV manufacturers are indeed developing their own CCS V2x products, including Renault, Audi and Sono. By all means quibble about the subtle differences between V2H, V2B and full blown V2G if you so choose, or BEV versus PHEV for that matter! However please also note that there are other EV OEMs that have yet to issue press releases!

Moving on, the Electric Nation article continues:

So there’s a need for V2G – but there’s also the potential inability of most EVs to use bidirectional charging technology over the coming five years. Therefore, to try and get a clearer picture about what will happen, Electric Nation asked a range of experts for their views about the future of V2G.

Sadly for some strange reason they didn’t ask me, so to elucidate further here yet again is a more up to date version of the infographic included in “International V2G Standards” presentation I gave at the International Energy Agency’s (IEA for short) Hybrid and Electric Vehicles (HEV for short) Technology Collaboration Programme (TCP for short) Wireless Charging and V2X Experts’ Workshop held at the Newcastle University Business School on March 20th 2018:

Imagine if you can what it might look like in the future in the absence of the
CHAdeMO D.C. controller and Nissan LEAF. Perhaps that is now the future of V2G in the United Kingdom? According to the Electric Nation article:

The recently unveiled Nissan Ariya SUV, due on sale in the second half of 2021, will feature CCS charging technology rather than CHAdeMO. Nissan says that bi-directional charging to grid or home will not be available on this vehicle in Europe at launch, but the company is looking at how it can implement it in the future, as it remains part of its strategy and it still offers benefit to the customer.

Nissan adds that bi-directional charging is key to unlocking the full potential of EVs and it’s important that all organisations including grid operators and charge point companies enable this technology. Nissan also notes that bi-directional charging using CCS is under study.

Nissan says that it will continue to offer CHAdeMO products in the future and there is no plan to switch the LEAF or e-NV200 to CCS at the moment.

Which brings me on to my final thought for today. According to Dr. Marco Landi, formerly Innovation Lead – Vehicle to Grid & EV Charging at Innovate UK:

There are a number of technical details which may have an influence on the future of V2G in the UK.

These include whether the ISO 15118 standard that enables V2G to work with CCS – which is expected to be adopted in Europe and globally – will be supported in the UK, or whether the UK may go in a different direction.

For example, will smart metering be involved in the management of smart charging and V2G? And what about the level of control by Distribution Network Operators (DNOs)? Or will the EVs themselves control V2G?

I would love to know how Marco envisages a future V2G capable charging station operating in the the absence of the ISO 15118-20 protocol shown in my infographic above. Delete OCPP by all means if so desired, but does UK plc really expect global EV OEMs to support another protocol over CCS in addition to ISO 15118?

In conclusion here’s a final forecast from the Electric Nation article:

Assuming that the technical challenges can be resolved, a whole-system analysis suggests V2G-related savings will be worth £3.5 bn/year by 2040 (from “Blueprint for a Post Carbon Society”, Imperial College/OVO).

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