E.ON and Nissan Report on 20 V2G Charger Trial

In a press release earlier today E.ON and Nissan announced that they:

Have successfully deployed 20 vehicle-to-grid (V2G) chargers as part of a trial to demonstrate how electric vans and cars could play a role in supporting the UK grid and provide a profitable and sustainable solution for business fleets.

The install at Nissan’s European Technical Centre in Cranfield is the first in a large-scale V2G trial co-funded by Innovate UK. The project will test and demonstrate how storing and sharing electricity in fleet vehicles’ batteries can generate additional revenue for participating companies as well as supporting the power grid.

Having validated the technology at Nissan’s Cranfield site, the project is now recruiting further participants for the trial and plans to deploy V2G chargers for organisations across the UK.

E.ON Drive’s Vehicle to Grid chargers at Nissan’s UK Research and Innovation site in Cranfield.

If you are a fleet owner think of going electric then Nissan want to talk to you! The press release continues with this quote from Nissan Motor GB’s Fleet Director, Peter McDonald:

We know many fleets are not just looking at electric vehicle acquisition, they are also reviewing their energy infrastructure for a world where electric vehicles are fast becoming the norm. Nissan is collaborating with E.ON on this exciting energy infrastructure project to expedite V2G technology in the UK. Thanks to the LEAF and e-NV200 being V2G-capable, these EVs are well set for the future.

I wonder whether Lisa, our very own Nissan LEAF counts for the purposes of this trial. As regular readers will no doubt be aware, we have been looking to expand our small “fleet” with an e-NV200 for quite some time. Perhaps this is the perfect opportunity, since:

The V2G package for participants in the trial will be offered at a heavily subsidised price through grant funding made available through Innovate UK. Vehicles compatible with the technology being used in this project are currently the Nissan e-NV200 and the Nissan LEAF2.

As well as E.ON and Nissan the V2G project consortium (known as e4Future) includes Newcastle University, Imperial College London, Northern Powergrid, UK Power Networks and National Grid ESO. The V2G platform used on the trial utilises a combination of E.ON’s existing Virtual Power Plant software as well as a charger operating system provided by E.ON’s e-mobility partner Virta.

The project is part of the V2G programme, funded by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and the Office for Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV), in partnership with Innovate UK. Part of UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), Innovate UK is the UK’s innovation agency investing in science and research.

Here is an image of our concept that we prepared earlier. In 2017 to be precise:


Fully Charged Delivers Moving Pictures of the ARRIVAL e-Van

We previously got quite excited about the Great British ARRIVAL electric (not diesel!) van. At that time there were some snarky comments on social media to the effect that “The van never moves in that video”. Well now it most certainly does! Take a look at the latest episode of Robert Llewellyn’s Fully Charged:

Of course we eagerly awaited some mention of our favourite three letter acronym – “V2G”. Unlike the recent launch of the new Ariya eSUV from Nissan, we were not disappointed by this update on the progress at ARRIVAL. Notice that at 4:00 into the video Robert Llewellyn asks:

Are these vehicles, for instance, vehicle-to-grid capable. Bi-directional charging is possible?

to which Patrick Bion, ARRIVAL’s head of product replies:

Absolutely!

Which is very good to hear from our admittedly biased perspective. A bit later on, at
7:30, Robert says:

I can see they have rapid charging capabilities, they have CCS charge sockets.

and Patrick confirms:

Yeah, that’s right.

Putting those two snippets of information together and you get the magic words “V2G [over] CCS”!

Here’s our take on this convoluted story from our Twitter feed:

and here’s our (hopefully ARRIVAL compatible!) bi-directional charging station, which has been patiently waiting for an ARRIVAL van’s arrival in our more modest car park since this time last year:

Here too is a video of our “soft launch” during the V2G panel session at the Fully Charged Live show at Silverstone in 2019:

Watch this space!

For another year? Or perhaps even until 2025 as officially pronounced by CharIN not so very long ago?

Audi & Hager Group Research V2H

Without even mentioning the term vehicle-to-grid Audi announced in a press release last week that:


Increasing network stability, lowering electricity costs, and contributing to climate protection – that is the vision that Audi and the Hager Group are pursuing. The incorporation of the electric car into the domestic grid is at the core of an innovative research project on bidirectional charging. This offers major advantages in combination with a photovoltaic system in particular. Excess PV electricity can be stored temporarily and output as needed.

Audi has committed to the objectives of the Paris Climate Agreement and is working on making its vehicle fleet CO2-neutral by 2050. In order to achieve this aim, the brand with the four rings is pursuing a broad electric offensive that involves launching around 20 fully electric models by 2025. And not only that: The electric car is to evolve into part of an increasingly broad mobility offer and become an element of the sustainable energy transition.

Electric cars as part of the energy transition

The press release does however mention a slightly less familiar three letter acronym:


The idea is as simple as it is genius: The high-voltage battery of the electric car not only is charged via the wall box at home but can also supply energy back to the house as a decentralized storage medium. If the customer has a photovoltaic system, the electric car serves as a temporary storage medium for the domestically generated eco-electricity. When the sun is no longer shining, the vehicle can supply the stored electricity back to the house. Bidirectional charging at home – also known as Vehicle to Home (V2H) – has great potential to reduce the home owner’s electricity costs and increase network stability. As a further expansion stage in combination with a home storage unit, it is possible to achieve near complete energy independence and increased security of supply in the event of a blackout. “Using the battery of electric vehicles to contribute to climate protection while lowering electricity costs at the same time is a vision that we have found fascinating since the very beginning. And we have found an ideal partner in Audi,” explains Ulrich Reiner, project manager at Hager Group.

We are very pleased to hear Audi state that “The idea is… genius “, since we put our “artist’s impression” of our “Static and Mobile Distributed Energy Storage” (SaMDES for short) concept in the banner at the top of every page on the V2G UK web site over 7 years ago!

Audi explain our V2H genius in greater detail in slightly stilted English as follows:

What sounds simple in theory requires a high level of technical intelligence and coordinated interaction between different technical components in terms of infrastructure and in the vehicle in practice. An Audi e-tron with near-series charging technology was used in the research project. In the test grid, the fully electric Audi model operated with a DC wall box, which enables a charging capacity of up to 12 kW, and a flexibly extendable home storage unit with a capacity of 9 kWh. While it could provide additional flexibility in possible series production, it is not a necessary requirement for bidirectional charging. Thanks to the DC voltage level in the overall grid, the connection between the PV system and the vehicle does not require an inverter and is thus a particularly efficient solution.

One thing Audi and Hager have done that we hadn’t quite managed to get around to just yet is to create a video that explains our SaMDES concept in an approachable way and set to music. Here it is:

Do you suppose that given all their resources Audi will eventually catch up with us?


Nissan Launches CHAdeMO-less Ariya eSUV

In a press release earlier this week Nissan announced that it had:

Revealed to the world the all-new Nissan Ariya electric coupé crossover, marking a new chapter for Nissan electric vehicles. The EV premiered globally through a virtual event hosted at the soon-to-open Nissan Pavilion in Yokohama.

The Ariya – Nissan’s first all-electric coupé crossover– offers powerful acceleration and smooth, quiet operation, as well as an interior with a welcoming, luxurious lounge-like atmosphere. Its stress-free autonomous driving features, voice personal assistance and seamless connectivity heighten on-road confidence and provides a welcoming environment for the driver and passengers. And with an estimated range of up to 500 kilometers (based on WLTP combined cycle, subject to homologation), Ariya is the perfect partner for daily commutes and road trips alike.

The Nissan Ariya is heavily based on the similarly-named concept vehicle displayed at the 2019 Tokyo Motor Show and first hinted at with the IMx at the 2017 Tokyo Motor Show. It’s the first production model to represent Nissan’s new electrified brand identity, forging a path toward a new automotive era where electrification, optimized platform packaging and seamless vehicle AI technology will become standard.

A bit of a change from the venerable LEAF then, with a dual motor 4 wheel drive option accompanying the “new electrified brand identity”, which does reduce the range somewhat:

As you can see from Nissan’s Ariya infographic, the LEAF’s dual AC/DC charging connector has moved from front and centre to the nearside front wing. Nissan haven’t provided an image of what’s hiding under the cover, but the press release does mention in passing that:

While every Ariya version will feature impressive driving range in its segment, it also boasts remarkable range recovery and quick-charge performance using Combined Charging System (CCS) in Europe. This is thanks in part to its battery thermal control feature, which constantly optimizes the operating temperature of the liquid-cooled battery.

The Nissan Ariya 63kWh versions carry a 7.4 kW charger for domestic use, while the 87kWh include a 22kW 3 phase charger for home charging. The Ariya can also support quick charging up to 130kW for peace of mind during long journeys.


In Europe the Ariya is following in the footsteps of the Kia Soul by dropping Nissan’s traditional CHAdeMO DC quick charging system in favour of CCS. Perhaps the “plug wars” are over, in Europe at least? However the Ariya press release makes no mention of discharging those hefty battery packs back to the home or distribution grid. Which prompts us to rephrase our perennial question once again:

The $64,000 question at this juncture is therefore “Will Nissan be demonstrating V2G over CCS some time soon?”

Watch this space!

The FCA/ENGIE V2G pilot project gets under way

We reported last September on the announcement of partnership between Fiat Chrysler and Italian utility Terna to develop “an experimental demonstration fleet of electric cars connected to the grid via a V2G infrastructure”. Now comes news via an FCA press release that:

FCA has selected ENGIE Eps as the technology partner for the project, to build that infrastructure.

In full compliance with the safety standards to contain the epidemic, work has therefore begun at the FCA plant in Mirafiori, Turin on the first phase of the Vehicle-to-Grid (V2G) pilot project. Once fully completed, it will be the largest plant of its kind in the world.

The initiative is aimed at two-way interaction between FCA full electric vehicles and the power grid. In addition to recharging the cars, the project will use their batteries to provide grid stabilization services.

The vehicle batteries are capable of storing energy and, using the V2G infrastructure, can return it to the grid when needs be. This represents an opportunity to optimize the operating costs of the cars – for the benefit of motorists – and a concrete possibility of contributing to a more sustainable electricity system.

The construction site for phase 1 of the project is now open at the Drosso logistics center, within the Mirafiori complex. The works cover an area of approximately 3,000 m2 with 450 m of trenches already excavated, ready to host over 10 km of the cables required to interconnect the electricity grid with 64 two-way fast charging points, with an output of up to 50 kW. The centralized infrastructure and advanced control system – providing Vehicle-to-Grid network services in addition to fast charging of electric vehicles – was designed, patented and constructed by ENGIE Eps.

Phase 1 of the project will see the installation of 32 V2G columns capable of connecting 64 electric vehicles and is scheduled for completion in July. By the end of 2021, the infrastructure will be extended to interconnect up to 700 electric vehicles, capable of providing ultrafast grid services to the transmission network operator, as well as recharging the vehicles themselves.

In its final configuration, the project will be capable of supplying up to 25 MW of regulatory capacity, making it the largest V2G facility ever built in the world. In addition, by aggregating with other FCA “assets” at Mirafiori – including 5 MW of solar panel capacity – this V2G infrastructure will become a true Virtual Power Plant, indeed the most innovative one in Italy. It will have the capability to provide a high level of resource optimization to the equivalent of 8,500 homes and a wide range of services to the network operator, including ultrafast frequency regulation.

This is all very interesting of course, not least because of ENGIE’s promised “ultrafast frequency regulation”. I’d love to know how that will be achieved, and also the type of V2G technology capable of delivering such an “ultrafast” response. AC or DC? CCS or CHAdeMO?

Time will tell, so watch this space! In the mean time here’s an artist’s impression of the 2021 model year Fiat 500 EV:

Is Tesla’s Model 3 Already V2G Capable?

According to Fred Lambert at Electrek:

Electrek has learned that Tesla has quietly made Model 3, and likely Model Y, ready for bidirectional charging, which should enable some game-changing features in the near future.

Since we were wildly speculating about such a thing only last month we did of course read further. After an explanation of the benefits of V2G technology Fred continued:

In a recent filing with the Texas electric utility commission in which Tesla was responding to questions about how electric utilities should approach electric vehicles, the automaker summarized its view of vehicle to grid technology:

“Vehicle to grid benefits can be recognized much more efficiently when EV deployment is at scale rather than in the early adopter phase. At the same time, any discussion regarding the capabilities of EV related technologies must recognize as a first principle that customer experience and willingness for participation is key. There certainly may be an opportunity for future projects and programs that focus on advanced technological integration, such as the eventual aggregation of EVs in the future to provide grid services in wholesale markets. In any setting, it is important to remember that EVs are modes of transportation first and foremost for customers. There is also an opportunity to evaluate stationary storage assets first to provide similar grid services capabilities from a wholesale electricity market perspective.”

While those comments are not too encouraging, they do note that there’s value in vehicle to grid once the EV fleet becomes large enough, which is starting to become the case…

Electrek has learned that Tesla has already prepared its onboard vehicle charger for bidirectional charging.

Marco Gaxiola, an electrical engineer who participated in a Model 3 teardown for a Tesla competitor, reverse engineered the electric car’s charger and found it to be ready for bidirectional charging.

He told Electrek:

“What I learned on reverse engineering the Model 3 charger, was that the design is fully bidirectional. This means power can be converted from AC to DC the same way as the previous example, but also power can flow in reverse direction, coming from the battery and ending up on the AC side. This is known as DC to AC inverter, and when this technology is present in a vehicle, it is known as V2G (Vehicle to Grid).”

The engineer added about the design of Tesla’s onboard charger:

“To complement this, the bidirectional design is replicated 3 times across the same PCB on the Model 3 charger. Another example of redundant design that assures a working process even if one of the circuits fails. Additionally, it is 3 phase design, so it can be used worldwide.”

Gaxiola believes that the vehicle to grid capacity in the Model 3 could be enabled through an over-the-air software update.

An intriguing “rumour”. How much store should we put in Marco’s reverse engineering efforts?

Time will tell, so please watch this space!

Meanwhile here’s a picture of a (sadly uni-directional) Tesla Model S connected to an AC V2G charging station in 2015:

Nissan Unveils e-NV200 Voltia

In a press release today Nissan announced that:


Nissan expands its electric e-NV200 line-up across Europe with the versatile e-NV200 XL Voltia.

The electric van for urban deliveries, the e-NV200 XL Voltia is a highly versatile conversion of the trusted electric Nissan e-NV200 van. The new model is already the zero-emissions vehicle of choice for major last-mile delivery suppliers across Europe.

The e-NV200 is cementing its reputation as the ideal vehicle for urban deliveries where operators and residents appreciate its near-silent and zero emission operation.

Broadening the diversity of the e-NV200 model family, the e-NV200 XL Voltia offers a compact body and sizeable cargo capacity. With a load space of 8 m³, the new model expands the standard e-NV200’s competitive load space by 90%. This allows businesses to complete fewer trips on each delivery round, allowing them to streamline operations and save time.

The newest member of the e-NV200 family is designed with versatility and practicality in mind. Combining an elongated load bay with an expansive roof space, the 8 m³ van allows drivers to load cargo easily, with standing room ensuring they remain comfortable on the job. The van is highly manoeuvrable on the road, too, with an optimised turning circle making it an ideal solution for urban roads.

The e-NV200 XL Voltia also benefits from technology inspired by the Nissan LEAF’s tried-and-tested powertrain. The model is equipped with Nissan’s highly capable 40kWh battery and an on-board CHAdeMO charger for rapid DC charging capability – making it the perfect solution for flexible urban delivery.

Alongside the efficient powertrain, intelligent energy management technology enhances the e-NV200 XL Voltia’s sustainability credentials even further. B mode optimises regenerative braking to recharge the battery on the move, whilst ECO mode manages power output to conserve battery capacity. When used together, both technologies maximise range to help drivers go longer on each delivery.

The Nissan e-NV200 has enjoyed widespread popularity since its launch in 2014, with 42,000 units produced– almost 10,000 sold across Europe in 2019 alone – supporting Nissan in its commitment to reduce urban emissions from commercial operations.

The e-NV200 XL Voltia will be made available in all European markets, with local pricing to be revealed upon launch.

The press release makes no mention of the inclusion of V2G technology in the Voltia, but since the van is based on the existing e-NV200 platform we assume the new vehicle is V2G capable. If we discover otherwise you will be the first to hear!

Tesla applies for UK power generation licence

We have previously commented on Tesla’s microgrid patent applications, and in related news we now bring you news of Tesla’s application for a UK power generation licence.

According to an article in today’s online edition of the energyst magazine:

Tesla Motors has applied for a UK power generation licence.

The company’s application, signed off by Tesla energy products sales director, Evan Rice, was published by energy regulator Ofgem.

The move suggests Tesla may be planning to build large-scale battery storage projects in the UK, as it has done in countries such as Australia, where it constructed a 100MW scheme in less than 100 days in late 2016.

However, it may mark Tesla’s first UK move into aggregation, as it eyes the virtual power plant (VPP) market.

The company’s ‘autobidder’ platform aims to make money from distributed batteries via real time trading and optimisation.

As well as its electric car business, Tesla also supplies battery storage for homes and businesses, plus solar roof tiles. The autobidder platform aims to harness everything from behind the meter home batteries to utility scale assets, bidding in flexibility to all available markets.


Tesla’s application to Ofgem reads as follows:

Tesla Motors Limited… hereby gives notice that it has made an application to the Gas and Electricity Markets Authority… for an electricity generation licence under section 6(1)(a) of the Electricity Act 1989 authorising it to generate electricity in the area specified in Schedule 1 for the purpose of giving a supply to any premises or enabling a supply to be so given.

SCHEDULE 1

SPECIFIED AREA

Great Britain, the territorial sea adjacent to Great Britain or in a Renewable Energy Zone.

where: Renewable Energy Zone has the meaning given by section 84(4) of the Energy Act 2004.

Our first thought regarding this interesting news here at V2G UK?

Nissan Announces 62kWh LEAF e+ N-TEC. With Free V2G Charger!

A Nissan press release has just landed in my in box, and I’m now so excited I’m going to reproduce it in reverse order! The final bullet point reads as follows:

Earlier in the release the following points are also mentioned:

Nissan has confirmed the all-electric LEAF range will benefit from a new N-TEC limited edition, joining the cross car line N-TEC versions of Micra, Qashqai and X-Trail, which were launched in January.LEAF e+ N-TEC 2020

Priced at £32,795 OTR (including the £3,500 Government Grant) the LEAF e+ N-TEC creates a new accessible price point for the higher 62kWh capacity battery drivetrain. Launched in summer 2019, the e+ version of LEAF delivers 217PS of power, 340Nm of torque and up to 239 miles of range (WLTP combined) on a single charge.

The LEAF e+ was previously available as a range-topping Tekna version. The new N-TEC edition, limited to just 1,000 examples, is based on the N-Connecta grade of the 40kWh line-up, but with added technology and styling, complementing the higher capacity 62kWh battery.

The N-TEC specification adds:

  • LED Pack and LED fog lights with cornering function (usually £495 option)
  • ProPILOT with Lane Keep Assist & Traffic Jam Pilot (usually £595 option)
  • Electronic Parking Brake
  • Metallic Blue Front Splitter
  • Revised e+ suspension set-up

It seems as though the “free” OVO vehicle-to-grid wallbox comes as part of Nissan’s finance campaign, available until 31st March 2020 as part of Nissan’s Red Tag Event.

I have endeavoured to contact both Nissan UK and OVO for comment, but they have yet to get back to me.

P.S. Nissan UK have been in touch. They assure me that the 62 kWh LEAF N-TEC is already in production, and if the 1000 special edition vehicles haven’t all been sold by March 31st a new finance offer will be made available. Based on that conversation it sounds as though the “free” V2G wallbox is available as part of OVO Energy’s continuing V2G trial, and is not dependent on Nissan’s finance. Full details can be seen at:

https://www.ovoenergy.com/electric-cars/vehicle-to-grid-charger

Our V2G Charger stores electricity in your Nissan electric vehicle battery when it’s cheaper and more likely to have been produced by renewable sources, then sells energy back to the grid when it’s in demand.

Sign up to OVO Energy, join the trial and you’ll get a groundbreaking charger for free. You will also get a £75 credit on your OVO Energy bill and a payment of up to 30p per kWh of energy exported back to the grid.

Watch this space for more news as and when we receive it.

Autonomous Nissan LEAF Drives 230 Miles

A press release from Cranfield University reveals that:

A car developed with advanced vehicle engineering research and testing facilities at Cranfield University has successfully completed the UK’s longest and most complex self-navigated journey. Travelling 230 miles on UK roads from the Nissan European Technical Centre in Cranfield up to its factory in Sunderland, the autonomous car journey was alongside regular road users and marks a significant milestone in the development of autonomous cars.

Here’s a video of the autonomous Nissan LEAF’s “Grand Drive” road trip:

The Cranfield press release continues:

The HumanDrive project – jointly funded by the UK Government through the Centre for Connected and Autonomous Vehicles (CCAV) and Innovate UK, and nine other consortium partners – includes:

  • Nissan – Lead partner and leading the autonomous vehicle (AV) development
  • Hitachi – Artificial Intelligence (AI) to provide human-like control and perception
  • University of Leeds – Understanding humanistic driving and its application to AVs whilst also developing a driver risk model
  • Connected Places Catapult (CPC) – Project management, communications and marketing activity, dissemination and safety case elements of the project
  • HORIBA MIRA – Provider of test facilities, supported safety aspects of the project
  • SBD Automotive – Cyber security support and AV Human machine Interface (HMI) studies
  • Atkins Ltd – Provision of a Cyber Security Framework
  • Aimsun Ltd – Studying the impact of AVs on the transport system
  • Highways England – Understanding the infrastructure needs for AV deployment

The Grand Drive journey was successfully completed on 28 November 2019, with two engineers on board and monitoring the vehicle’s actions at all times. Both were fully trained to conduct autonomous vehicle testing, with one behind the wheel and ready to take control if required, and the second supervising the car’s control and monitoring systems.