Inauguration of the FCA/Terna/ENGIE V2G pilot project

We have been covering the joint Fiat Chrysler/Terna/ENGIE V2G project in Milan for the past year or so. Yesterday the first stage of the project was inaugurated during an on site press conference. According to the Terna press release:

Today at the headquarters of the Heritage Hub within FCA’s Mirafiori industrial district in Turin, FCA, Engie Eps and Terna presented the Vehicle-to-grid (V2G) electric-mobility pilot project, which will be the largest in the world once completed.

The V2G installation, located in the Drosso logistics area, was inaugurated during an international conference in the presence of the Minister of Economic Development, Stefano Patuanelli, the Mayor of Turin, Chiara Appendino and the President of the Piedmont region, Alberto Cirio, along with numerous other institutional guests and journalists from Italy and around the world, with a demonstration of its features and operating methods.

The V2G plant at Mirafiori is a project “100% made in Italy”. On the one hand, it is a significant opportunity for the Italian industrial system to take a leading role in the development of the future of sustainable mobility. On the other, it is the result of the joint effort of three companies that lead their sectors. In their use of such an innovative technology, their experiments are now beginning on a bidirectional charging solution that benefits from physical aggregation in a single point of interconnection with the power grid, capable of interacting with the other energy resources on site.

According to the Engie press release:

Bidirectional technology – which both charges the car and returns power to the grid – can only work efficiently when the car and the charging infrastructure speak a common language. This is the focus of the trial launched with the inauguration of the plant.

V2G thus represents a major opportunity, which is why FCA – together with its partners ENGIE Eps, the technicians who built the plant, and Terna, the operator of the high- and ultra-high-voltage national power grid – has committed to a cutting-edge project, an example of genuine innovation.

The construction of the plant in just four months, despite the lockdown due to the COVID-19 outbreak, has enabled the transformation of what is typically only a cost (the storage of vehicles waiting to be delivered to the sales network) into a benefit that could be exploited by vehicle fleet managers in the not-too-distant future. Indeed, a (potentially high) number of vehicles parked for long periods in one place represents an opportunity to provide services to the network in an ‘aggregated’ manner.

Here’s a time lapse video of the construction of the pilot site:

According to Terna once again:

Phase 1 of the plant’s construction has consisted of the installation of 32 V2G columns capable of connecting 64 vehicles, aimed at piloting the technology and managing the logistics of the storage area. By the end of 2021, the Drosso V2G project will be extended to interconnect up to 700 electric vehicles, making it the largest facility of its kind ever built in the world. The management of phase 2 will be mainly dictated by cost-effectiveness: the objectives will be to provide services to the Terna power grid and to ensure a positive economic result for FCA and ENGIE Eps.

To cover the parking spaces for the cars connected to the V2G, ENGIE Italia is a partner in the construction of an enormous roof consisting of around 12,000 solar panels, which will supply the production and logistics facilities with ‘green’ energy. The plant will be able to produce over 6,500 MWh of energy every year, resulting in the offsetting of more than 2,100 tons of CO2 emissions per year, a boon for the environment. The project therefore represents a significant contribution to decarbonization in the industrial sector.

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 UKplc 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).

California ISO Anticipates Another Weekend Heatwave

Following the recent series of rolling blackouts in California, we got wind of this a couple of day ago via Twitter:

Our suspicions have since been confirmed:


Here is the current GFS forecast for 00:00 UTC on Sunday:

And here is CAISO’s forecast demand for today:

Meanwhile a certain Andrew Neil has still not corrected his “no doubt inadvertent error” on Twitter concerning battery storage capacity in California during the previous such event:

[Edit – September 6th 03:30]

As reported on Twitter:

Here’s an overview of the California ISO’s states of emergency:

It’s now just past the period of peak electricity demand in California, so perhaps stage 3 will be avoided today?

However tomorrow is another day.

[Edit – September 7th 05:45]

Tomorrow evening has arrived in California. Solar PV generation has ceased, but presumably thanks to manual “demand side response” on the part of some of the citizens of California the electricity demand peak has been shaved once again:

A Stage 2 Emergency was declared by the California ISO once again:

and a Stage 3 Emergency was avoided once again:

Meanwhile the fires are still burning in California, some of them “0% contained”:

Tomorrow is another, another day!

[Edit – September 8th]

The final Flex Alert of the Labor Day weekend did the trick, with no emergency being declared on Monday:

However the fires are still burning, and Public Safety Power Shutoffs (AKA power cuts!) have been ordered by PG&E as a result:

[Edit – September 9th]

The graphic below is just a snapshot of the power outages across California yesterday evening. Most of them were due to Pacific Gas and Electric’s Public Safety Power Shutoffs:

There were over 200,000 outages at that moment, but the peak will have been higher. And many of those outages have apparently lasted for quite a long time:

[Edit – September 10th]

Wildfires are now raging along almost the entire western seaboard of the United States. Here’s an image from the Suomi NPP satellite showing the resulting plume of smoke being blown across a large area of the North Eastern Pacific Ocean:

Public Safety Power Shutoffs are still ongoing in California, as well as further north in Oregon and Washington. Here is Portland General Electric’s current power outage map:

Sero Group Announce “UK’s largest domestic DSR trial”

In a press release on Tuesday the Sero Group announced that:

FLATLINE, an industry led research project aiming to demonstrate the viability of a demand-side approach to energy management at domestic level, has reached a major milestone as residents move into three pilot homes at The Mill site in Cardiff.

Backed by the Department of Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy, the ‘Fixed Level Affordable Tariffs Led by Intelligently Networked Energy’ (FLATLINE) project aims to significantly reduce residents’ energy bills, using a combination of domestic Demand Side Response and demand shifting for both heat and electricity.

The specially built pilot homes at The Mill development site in Cardiff will be closely followed by a further 46 homes at a separate site, Parc Eirin in Tonyrefail – which will see first residents move in this autumn as the first phase of the 225 new home scheme is complete.

According to the “Zero Carbon Lifestyle” section of the Sero Homes web site:

Every Sero Home is built ready for future generations, and that includes the future of travel.

Our homes are built with three phase electricity – the “broadband” of power – and electric vehicle (EV) fast charging points. You can recharge your car at a Sero Home in less than four hours, compared to around twelve hours in a traditional home (or about three days on a 13amp plug).

Sero Homes’ class-leading recharging times are only useful if you can afford the car in the first place. To tackle this, on most of our sites we offer our residents an option to take an EV lease with inclusive miles bundled in.

It’s probably no coincidence that today Robert Llewellyn announced a new edition of his Fully Charged Show. An introduction to the “Affordable Eco Housing” at The Mill and Parc Eirin:

You will note that at 14:40 into the video Bobby asks:

All the homes are on 3 phase? Is that right? Which is unusual in this country, but common elsewhere in Europe.

To which Andy replies:

It’s three phase for cars, because whilst you can charge a car from a 13 amp plug it will take you… a couple of days. 7.5 kW chargers are good for overnight charging, but what we’re keen to do is use these homes as part of the energy grid. And using them as part of the energy grid means we need to be able to draw power from the grid when the grid wants to get rid of it, and that means the quicker we can draw it the better.

All of which leaves a big unanswered question, in my mind at least. What about feeding power back into the grid when it needs more of it?

Since that is just the sort of thing we have been working on for the last 7 or 8 eight years here at the V2G Group I felt compelled to comment as follows on Twitter:

Please note that something else we’ve been working on for a few years here in the (Silic)Inny Valley is Mobility as a Service, or “MaaS” for short:

Watch this space!



Marco and Laura Gang Up On Gulf Coast

Only last week we were following power cuts caused by both a heat wave in California and hurricane force winds in Ireland thanks to the extratropical cyclone dubbed Storm Ellen by Met Éireann. This week we already have two hurricanes heading for the United States coast in the Gulf of Mexico, where a significant storm surge and numerous power outages are now expected.

The sustained wind speeds of Hurricane Marco have just dropped below the Saffir-Simpson scale category 1 threshold of 74 miles per hour. However storm surge and hurricane warnings are still in place for the Gulf coast of Lousiana:

A STORM SURGE WARNING IS IN EFFECT FOR.... 
* MORGAN CITY LOUISIANA TO OCEAN SPRINGS MISSISSIPPI
* LAKE BORGNE
A HURRICANE WARNING IS IN EFFECT FOR...
* MORGAN CITY LOUISIANA TO THE MOUTH OF THE PEARL RIVER

Marco is due to make landfall later this evening. Meanwhile Tropical Storm Laura, currently crossing Cuba, is forecast to strengthen as she crosses the Gulf before making landfall at hurricane strength on Wednesday night, in Louisiana once again:

FORECAST VALID 27/0000Z 29.2N  92.4W
MAX WIND 90 KT...GUSTS 110 KT.
50 KT... 50NE 40SE 30SW 40NW.
34 KT...100NE 100SE 50SW 80NW.

Significant damage to the electricity distribution infrastructure in the southern USA is expected. Yet again we are compelled to wonder if many of the anticipated power outages could have been prevented if areas of the United States vulnerable to hurricane damage already possed significant numbers of vehicle-to-grid capable electric vehicles and bidirectional charging stations?

[Edit – August 26th 14:00]

Here’s an image of Hurricane Laura over the Gulf of Mexico, recorded a few minutes ago by the GOES-16 satellite:

[Edit – August 27th 7:30]

Laura has made landfall as a major category 4 hurricane. According to the most recent National Hurricane Center public advisory notice:

100 AM CDT Thu Aug 27 2020
...EXTREMELY DANGEROUS CATEGORY 4 HURRICANE LAURA MAKES LANDFALL NEAR CAMERON LOUISIANA...
...CATASTROPHIC STORM SURGE, EXTREME WINDS, AND FLASH FLOODING OCCURRING IN PORTIONS OF LOUISIANA...
SUMMARY OF 100 AM CDT...0600 UTC...INFORMATION
----------------------------------------------
LOCATION...29.8N 93.3W
ABOUT 30 MI...45 KM SSW OF LAKE CHARLES LOUISIANA
ABOUT 40 MI...70 KM E OF PORT ARTHUR TEXAS
MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS...150 MPH...240 KM/H
PRESENT MOVEMENT...N OR 350 DEGREES AT 15 MPH...24 KM/H
MINIMUM CENTRAL PRESSURE...938 MB...27.70 INCHES

Here’s how Laura looked from the GOES-East satellite:

and here are the side effects of her passage on the local electricity distribution grids in Louisiana and Texas:

[Edit – August 27th 14:00]

There are now well over half a million premises across Louisina and Texas suffering from a power cut due to Hurricane Laura. Here are the outage maps from poweroutage.us:

Plus Entergy‘s map of the current state of their distribution grid in southern Louisiana:

[Edit – August 28th 9:00]

Repeating a message I imparted on Twitter earlier this morning:

[Edit – August 29th 8:00]

According to PowerOutage.us there are still over half a million properties suffering from a power cut this morning in the aftermath of  Hurricane Laura:

Bad Weather Batters Global Electricity Grids

Over on the eastern side of the Pacific Ocean there has been a summer heat wave in California:


As a consequence air conditioning works hard, electricity demand goes up, and over the last few days there have been some rolling blackouts across the Golden State. According to the New York Times on August 16th:

As temperatures began to rise in California on Friday and again on Saturday, the manager of much of the state’s electric grid called on utilities to cut power to hundreds of thousands of customers.
But the rolling blackouts on those days left some of the state’s energy experts bewildered. They said that the utilities had plenty of power available and that the blackouts weren’t necessary. The grid’s capacity may be tested in coming days as temperatures are forecast to reach into the triple digits again in some places.

The grid’s capacity was indeed tested in the following days. It’s not clear why the California Independent System Operator (CAISO for short) didn’t issue a call for a voluntary “Flex Alert” on August 15th, but the ultimate consequence was some power cuts. Here’s CAISO’s record of electricity demand and renewable generation that day:

It’s clear that something unusual was happening to solar PV generation on the afternoon of the 15th. See for example the equivalent graph for the following day:

According to the New York Times once again:

The California Independent System Operator, the nonprofit entity that controls the flow of electricity for 80 percent of California, said it acted after three power plants shut down and wind power production dropped. It also cited a lack of access to electricity from out-of-state sources.

Let’s take a look at electricity imports into California on August 15th:

That section of the CAISO web site also reveals that California currently benefits from a modest amount of grid connected battery storage, which was called upon to discharge at about 2:30 PM at the time of the sudden drop in solar generation.

All of which leads us to ask, amongst other things, whether the rolling blackouts could have been avoided had California been able to call upon the services of a large fleet of vehicle-to-grid capable electric vehicles at the critical juncture?

There is also another reason for power to be cut in California. The wildfire season has started early this year, and large areas are still ablaze:

https://twitter.com/NWSSacramento/status/1296600905547120647

Now let’s move across to the much cooler eastern shores of the North Atlantic, where Storm Ellen was raging yesterday during the peak of the summer holiday season:

Ireland experienced some very strong winds, and hence wide spread power cuts. Here are those winds:

and here are the unfortunate side effects of those winds on ESB Networks‘ electricity distribution grid later in the day:

All of which leads us to also ask, amongst other things, if the majority of those many tens of thousands of power cuts could have been avoided had Ireland been able to call upon the services of a large fleet of vehicle-to-grid capable electric vehicles at the critical juncture?

Here’s an example of the required technology, photographed in our North Cornwall car park over a year ago:

Lucid Air Supports AC CCS V2G

In a press release yesterday Lucid Motors announced that:

The Lucid Air will be a groundbreaking EV in terms of charging capabilities and will include:

DC fast charging at up to 20 miles per minute, with a peak charging rate of over 300kW

Ultra-high voltage 900V+ electrical architecture
19.2kW AC onboard charger that can support AC charging speeds up to 80 miles per hour

Integrated boost charging and the broadest range of charging compatibility from AC Levels 1 and 2, up to the most powerful Level 3 DC fast charging, utilizing the universal CCS connector standard for connectivity to, and fast charging at, any public charging network.

Full bi-directionality for advanced Vehicle-to-Everything (V2X) capabilities built-in for future enablement of Vehicle-to-Grid (V2G) and Vehicle-to-Vehicle (V2V) features

That last bullet is obviously the one of most interest to us here at the V2G Group, so to begin with here’s a picture of the Air’s CCS charging socket:

The Lucid press release continues:

Home charging is one of the key benefits of EV ownership. In addition to the standard Lucid Mobile Charging Cord that comes with every Lucid vehicle, Lucid has also developed the Lucid Connected Home Charging Station, one of the first AC charging stations with bi-directional charging ever offered. With bi-directional charging, owners can enjoy a more cost-effective charging method and also use their Lucid Air as a temporary energy reserve to power their homes, including off-grid vacation properties.

Given their emphasis on a “Home Charging Station” it’s surprising, to me at least, that Lucid’s copywriters neglected to drop the V2H acronym into the release somewhere! However unlike certain other writers one might mention they did at least admit that their offering is merely “one of the first AC charging stations with bi-directional charging ever offered”. Here once again is another picture of the bi-directional AC charging station that has been “on offer” in our car park here in North Cornwall for over a year now:


The final paragraph of Lucid’s press release reads as follows:

The production version of the Lucid Air will debut in an online reveal on September 9, 2020. In addition to the vehicle’s final interior and exterior designs, new details about production specifications, available configurations, and pricing information will also be shared.


Obviously an event not to be missed. Even if for some strange reason it does neglect to offer a “demonstration of AC V2H over CCS”!

[Edit – September 10th]

Late afternoon on September 9th in Silicon Valley translates into early morning on September 10th in the (Silic)Inny Valley over here in sunny South West England!

Here is the recorded and hence slightly belated Lucid Air Global Reveal:

The most interesting bit for us here at the V2G Group can be viewed at around 29:55 minutes into the video, when Lucid Motors’ Vice President of Hardware Engineering, Eric Bach, says:

One of the most customer important systems, I feel, is the bi-directionality that we’ve built in to our Wunderbox. Not only can we charge the car from your house. The car can also supply power to your house, which is a whole new world of features:

This will enable you to use the car as a battery system in case you have a power outage at your house. The car will keep the lights on.

Note that Eric also mentions the vehicle-to-vehicle capabilities of the Lucid Air, but never explicitly refers to full blown vehicle-to-grid!

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?