Terna and Fiat Chrysler Announce 700 Vehicle V2G Project

Italian utility Terna announced in a press release yesterday that:

Today in Turin, the CEO and General Manager of Terna, Luigi Ferraris, and the Chief Operating Officer of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles in EMEA, Pietro Gorlier, signed a Memorandum of Understanding for the joint trialling of sustainability mobility services and technologies, such as Vehicle-to-Grid (V2G), which enables electric vehicles to interact with the grid via ‘smart’ charging infrastructure.

The partnership between the companies will involve the realisation at the Terna location in Turin of the E-mobility Lab, an innovative technology laboratory which will allow trials on the performances and capacities of electric cars for the provision of services to support the flexibility and stabilisation of the electricity grid, and their one-way and two-way interaction with the grid via a dedicated charging infrastructure. Feasibility studies will also be launched for an experimental demonstration fleet of electric cars connected to the grid via a V2G infrastructure, to be built in an area inside the FCA Mirafiori industrial complex.

According to a Reuters report Pietro Gorlier said:

“We’ll start with the electric Cinquecento. The project will kick off in the coming months, we plan to reach 600-700 test vehicles by 2020-21”.

FCA will start producing a full electric version of its Cinquecento mini car in Mirafiori by the second quarter of next year.

Nissan and EDF collaborate on UK V2G

In a press release earlier today Nissan announced that:

Nissan and EDF Group have signed a cooperation agreement to accelerate the delivery of electric mobility together – particularly through the smart charging of electric vehicles. This agreement applies to the United Kingdom, France, Belgium and Italy.

The cooperation agreement focuses mainly on developing smart charging solutions (vehicle to grid, or V2G) by bringing together technologies developed and mastered by both companies. Smart charging refers to technologies that optimise the charging or discharging of an electric vehicle in an efficient and cost-effective manner.

As part of the cooperation agreement, Nissan is responsible for the sale of V2G compatible electric vehicles, and EDF Group in charge of V2G charging solutions and related services.

If EDF have “developed and mastered… V2G charging solutions” I cannot help but think they must be buying in the necessary hardware technology from elsewhere rather than having developed and mastered it themselves. However the news release is rather vague about that side of things! It continues:

Fundamental to Nissan’s Intelligent Mobility vision is the integration of electric vehicles into society, with V2G technology offering significant benefits to electricity grids and providing new financial opportunities to businesses. As increasing numbers of drivers and businesses make the switch to 100% electric vehicles, Nissan achieved record sales for both the Nissan LEAF and e-NV200 van in Europe last year.

EDF Group is committed to promote clean mobility for everyone, in particular by developping “smart charging” solutions with tangible benefits to customers. These fully integrated solutions include the management of the battery’s charge and discharge as well as flexibility services to the grid available through storage. They are carried by Izivia, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the EDF Group specialising in charging infrastructure, and Dreev, the newly launched EDF-NUVVE joint venture, specialising in V2G commercial solutions.

Perhaps EDF’s V2G hardware arrives via Dreev then. However Nuvve have told me numerous times that they are “not in the hardware business”. Who is then?!

The coda to the interesting bit of the release states:

Today’s agreement follows a previous partnership in the UK between EDF Energy and Nissan. Signed last year, the two organisations agreed to collaborate around the development of shared offerings in the areas of electric mobility, smart charging, second-life battery use, energy storage and renewable energy sources.

That doesn’t reveal what Dreev are up to either, so let’s dig a little deeper shall we? According to the Dreev web site:

Dreev solution relies on Nuvve technology that has already been deployed and validated on 5 continents.

followed by:

Nuvve Corporation is a San Diego-based green energy technology company, world leader in V2G technology, whose mission is to lower the cost of electric vehicle ownership while supporting the integration of renewable energy sources, including solar and wind.

which links to the Nuvve web site which tells us:

As part of our complete vehicle-to-grid (V2G) solution, we offer bidirectional chargers which are preconfigured to work with NUVVE’s Grid Integrated Platform (GIVe™).

Nissan’s press release included a picture of a shiny red right hand drive 2019 model year Nissan LEAF e+:

Nissan LEAF e plus-small

A packet of peanuts will be our astonishingly generous reward for anybody able to send us a verifiable image of the Nuvve/Dreev “developed and mastered” DC V2G hardware technology. Note that the image on the Nuvve “V2G Chargers” page shows hardware technology developed by a 3rd (or should that be 4th) party.

Tesla Files SaMDES Patent Application

Regular readers with long memories may recall that way back when in November 2017 we here at V2G UK announced the launch of our Static and Mobile Distributed Energy Storage project? Those readers can no doubt imagine my surprise when I recently discovered an article by Sebastian Blanco in Forbes magazine announcing that:

There’s the grid, the evolving smart grid and then there’s no grid at all. That’s the paradigm that Tesla is exploring in a new patent application, Number 16/186390, which calls for controlling energy generation interactions (solar roofs, anyone? ) that bypass the electric grid.

Here’s the monochrome graphic that Sebastian extracted from Tesla’s recent microgrid patent application:

SebastianBlanco_Tesla _Patent_Screen-Shot-2019-03-29

To my way of thinking that’s remarkably similar to the left and central portions of the much more colourful “prior art” in the banner that’s been proudly displayed at the top of every page on this web site for many years now. Do you suppose that Elon Musk is an avid reader of the V2G UK web site? If so perhaps he first arrived here way back in 2014 when I took Tesla’s marketing mavens to task over their propensity to be “economical with the truth” concerning open source electric vehicles.

Tesla’s recent US patent application includes the following paragraph:

This application is a continuation application of U.S. patent application Ser. No. 15/153,037 entitled “ENERGY GENERATION INTERACTIONS BYPASSING THE GRID,” filed on May 12, 2016, which is herein incorporated by reference in its entirety for all purposes.

That seems to refer to this 2018 patent assigned to “SolarCity Corporation, San Mateo, CA”. Does the US patent office by any chance have a number to call to advise them of occurrences of “patenting the bleedin’ obvious”?

Exhibit 1: https://web.archive.org/web/20140606031404/https://v2g.co.uk:80/blog/

Octopus and Ohme Announce a Smart Cable

This is a piece of electric vehicle smart charging (V1G for short) news rather than directly related to vehicle-to-grid technology. It is extremely interesting nonetheless. In a press release this morning it was announced that:

Octopus Energy and Ohme are today announcing a partnership to offer Octopus Energy customers the chance to have smart charging at home – enabling them to charge any electric car when Octopus’s green electricity is cheapest.

By integrating with Agile Octopus, the UK’s only smart time-of-use tariff, the Ohme cable and app brings smart charging to any home.

Here’s the image of Ohme’s new “smart cable” that accompanied the press release:

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The press release continues:

Once the cable is connected, the driver can just open up the app and enter the amount they would like to charge their car and by when, and then let Ohme manage it for them. For example: “On weekdays, charge my car battery to 100% by 7am”. Ohme then uses the Octopus Agile API to automatically deliver the right amount of electricity when it is cheapest.

By optimising their charging in this smart way, Octopus Energy and Ohme estimate that customers using Ohme in parallel with the Agile Octopus tariff could save around £300 per year on their charging costs in comparison to charging on a typical industry standard variable tariff.

The cable will cost £399, but the first 1,000 Octopus Energy customers get a special launch price of £199.

The Ohme cable is available for pre-order on the Octopus Energy web site. Whilst we wait for them to start shipping the new product, here’s an image of the Ohme app in action:

OHME_app_launch

According to Ohme’s CEO, David Watson:

At Ohme we believe the future of transport is electric and that flexible home charging is the key to mass adoption. Ohme’s innovative smart charging cable is the first App-controlled, intelligent EV charger, that combined with Octopus’ smart energy tariffs, delivers real savings and environmental benefits. All you need to do is plug in and let Ohme do the rest.

I cannot help but think that the likes of Wallbox might well quibble with David’s “first app-controlled, intelligent EV charger” remark? The press release didn’t include a telephone number, but we’ll let you know Ohme’s thoughts on the matter when we manage to get hold of them.

 

[Edit – March 30th]

After desperately doing my due diligence I eventually managed to have a long chat with Ohme’s technical guru, Dan Hollingworth, yesterday evening. As I strongly suspected, the Ohme “smart cable” isn’t actually that smart, by V2G UK’s standards at least. It contains a microprocessor and a 4G modem, not unlike our sister company V2G EVSE’s “smart controller” except that it doesn’t optionally do WiFi, Bluetooth, 2.5 G, 3G, LTE-M and NB-IoT as well.

Ohme’s device doesn’t determine the electric vehicle (EV for short) battery pack’s state of charge by communicating with the EV through the cable. Instead it finds out that useful piece of information by using its 4G modem to communicate with assorted EV original equipment manufacturer’s (OEM for short) cloud platforms, which in turn communicate wirelessly with the EV the Ohme’s cable is plugged into using proprietary protocols.

Ohme’s cloud platform is somewhat smarter since it communicates with National Grid’s Application Programming Interface (API for short) to forecast the “carbon intensity” of the UK Grid and thus determine the “greenness” of the electricity used to charge the EV to which the “smart cable” is attached. Here’s the current output of our open source example of how to go about doing that, generated by the V2G EVSE smart controller:

Screenshot from 2019-03-30 10-05-54

Ohme’s cloud platform also determines the price of electricity on Octopus Energy’s Agile or Go tariffs by communicating with the Octopus Energy API

Ohme’s smartphone application (app for short) allows the EV’s owner to instruct Ohme’s cloud based platform how much charge they’d like in their EV battery pack by when. On the basis of all the information Ohme’s cloud based platform has acquired it then uses version 1.6 of the Open Charge Point Protocol (OCPP for short) to instruct the cable when and how fast to charge the EV it’s connected to. In case it’s of interest here’s our open source smart charging station simulator, based on a mildly modified clone of Thomas Volden’s OCPP 1.6 library over on GitHub:

https://github.com/V2G-Ltd/OCPP-1.6-EVSE-Demo

Does that all make perfect sense now?

Renault Starts V2G Charging Pilot Project in Utrecht

In a press release earlier today Renault announced:

Groupe Renault, the European leader in electric vehicles, is beginning the first large-scale pilot schemes in reversible electric charging. Our alternating-current technology has the particularity of placing the reversible charger inside vehicles, so it just requires a simple, inexpensive adaptation of the existing charging terminals.

A fleet of fifteen Zoe vehicles with vehicle-to-grid charging will be introduced in Europe over the course of 2019 to develop our future offerings in reversible charging and lay the groundwork for the future standards —with our partners’ help. These pilot schemes will begin today in Utrecht (the Netherlands) in an ecosystem developed by We Drive Solar and on Porto Santo Island (in the archipelago of Madeira, Portugal) with Empresa de Electricidade da Madeira, an energy supplier. Following these, more pilot schemes will be introduced in France, Germany, Switzerland, Sweden and Denmark.

It looks like we’ll have to (metaphorically of course) twist someone’s arm at Renault to let us try one or more of their modified Zoes with AC V2G capability! I was at the launch in Utrecht today and spoke to a variety of representatives from Renault Netherlands and Renault France, who by and large seemed amenable to the idea of a suitably funded UK pilot project. Renault’s press release was of course accompanied by a variety of images. However I took lots of pictures of my own, and a fair few videos too. Here’s the three Zoes that were lined up in Utrecht today:

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and here’s King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands driving away in one of them, accompanied by Robin Berg of We Drive Solar:

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Here too is a video recording of some of the excellent entertainment at the event, provided by the Hillsback Brassband:

Invigorated by the brilliant brass section here’s one of the press release infographics that I couldn’t snap for myself. Renault’s visualisation of vehicle-to-grid technology in action:

2019 - Recharge bidirectionnelle

2019 – Recharge bidirectionnelle

Charging during the day on the left. Discharging during the night on the right. Much like our very own V2G UK banner above! Renault’s press release continues:

Vehicle-to-grid charging — also called reversible charging — modulates the charging and discharging of electric-vehicle batteries in accordance with users’ needs and the grid’s supply of available electricity. Charging reaches its maximum level when the electricity supply exceeds demand, notably during peaks in production of renewable energy. But vehicles are also capable of injecting electricity into the grid during peaks in consumption. Electric vehicles can therefore serve units of temporary energy storage and become key drivers in the development of renewable energy. In this way, the electricity grid optimizes the supply of local renewable energy and reduces infrastructure costs. At the same time, customers enjoy greener, more economical consumption of electricity and are financially rewarded for serving the electricity grid.

Reversible charging will be piloted in several projects (electric ecosystems or mobility services) through seven countries and alongside various partners to lay the groundwork for Groupe Renault’s future offering. The aim is twofold: to measure large-scale feasibility and potential gains. In particular, these pilot schemes will help us:

  • Underline the technical and economic advantages of an onboard solution in electric vehicles
  • Demonstrate—in concrete terms—the value of services provided for the local and national electricity grid, such as encouraging consumption of solar and wind energy, checking the grid’s frequency or tension, and reducing infrastructure costs
  • Work on the regulatory frameworks of a mobile energy-storage scheme, detecting any pitfalls in it and offering concrete solutions
  • Establish common standards, the basic requirement for an industrial-scale roll-out.

I now have a few more videos of the event to go away and edit, but whilst those are being prepared here’s one that Renault provided earlier, illustrating both “Smart charging” and “Bidirectional smart charging”:

Volkswagen’s New eMobility Roadmap

On the first day of V2G UK’s trip to The Netherlands I attended EVBox’s rEVolution 2019 event in Amsterdam. Here’s EVBox’s own brief overview of the event:

and here’s yours truly during a quiet interlude at the entrance to the Gashouder Westergasfabriek:

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In the first of several reports from Amsterdam, here’s what Martin Römheld of Volkswagen revealed in the final keynote speech:

Here are a few of the key points from Martin’s presentation:

My smallest daughter, she’s 3 years now, so by 2090 she’s probably going to be 74. So that means this is not a far distant scenario. I know people now who are spilling their breakfast all over them who will have to live on that planet by 2090:

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Martin was referring to his animation of two alternative Representative Concentration Pathways (RCPs for short). RCP 2.6 on the left “assumes that global annual greenhouse gas emissions peak between 2010–2020, with emissions declining substantially thereafter”, whereas RCP 8.5 on the right “assumes that global GHG emissions continue to rise throughout the 21st century”.

For VW I can tell you, and I think you can read that from the papers and the news currently they’re really doing a paradigm shift. The top management is really turning around the company big time. The “dieselgate” that Roger mentioned was definitely a facilitator in that. Something had to happen, and it’s really happening now. It caused a lot of fear. It caused a lot of movement, but it’s absolutely necessary.

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Volkswagen’s “new paradigm” includes a “commitment to the climate goals of the Paris Agreement“.

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Here you can see the greenhouse gas emissions by different sectors. I’ve singled out the two that we have an influence on. We are part of the industry, so within the value chain and the production of the vehicle we have a big influence on that section, and of course with our products and the services we provide to our customers we have a big impact on the other 14%, the emissions while the vehicle are being used.

Moving on from VW’s aspirations to some engineering, Martin pointed out that:

The question is “How much energy is contained in one litre of diesel?”. Very few people know that. It’s about 10 kWh, so 6 litres of diesel are the equivalent of 60 kWh of energy. So how far will that takes us? With a diesel car, if you have a moderate driving style, it will take you about 100 km… With an EV you go four times that far. And that’s the discussion we have to take. It’s not a question about how much more electricity do we consume, it’s a question about how much less energy do we consume.

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When it comes to reducing the energy consumption of “personal mobility” by a factor of four, here are Volkswagen Group’s plans. Firstly an overview of their “Modularer E-Antriebs-Baukasten” (MEB) Platform:

IMG_20190319_164855

which will form the basis for their forthcoming I.D. series of electric vehicles:

IMG_20190319_164911

Much like Nissan and Renault, VW also plan to go into the energy business with the Elli brand:

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They even intend to supply their own wallboxes to charge their forthcoming range of electric vehicles:

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Do you suppose that Elon Musk is losing any sleep over the nascent competition to Tesla emanating from the Old World?

The Lights Go Out Again at V2G Towers

Our lights went out at 11:33 this morning, together with our telephone and “fibre to the premises” BT broadband. Fortunately we have backup for the latter two in the form of the by now ubiquitous mobile phones and this Huawei E5885L 4G mobile WiFi hotspot:

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The cause of the problem was an 11 kV cable that had become detached from an insulator and was dangling lower than designed:

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Initially we were one of 141 properties without power:

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By 12:20 our power came back on since WPD’s engineers had arrived and isolated a small section of their distribution grid just up the hill from here leaving just 6 properties on the edge of Davidstow Moor without mains electricity:

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They had their power restored somewhat later, at 13:50:

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We really must persuade our current landlord to let us install a 3 phase supply and full strength V2G technology to enable us to weather such storms much more smoothly in our converted barn.

New Kia Soul EV Ditches CHAdeMO For CCS

In a news release earlier today Kia announced that:

The all-new Kia Soul EV brings long-range, zero-tailpipe emissions power to the urban crossover class. The third globally-sold electric vehicle from Kia Motors will make its European debut at the 2019 Geneva International Motor Show next month.

1680430_kia_pressrelease_2018_PRESS-HIGHRES_ESOUL_side

Not only that, but also:

The Kia Soul EV will be sold in Europe exclusively as an electric vehicle, with a choice of two fully-electric, zero-emission powertrains to meet the needs and budgets of different customers.

Drivers have a choice of long-range (64 kWh) and standard-range (39.2 kWh) powertrains. Whichever version a buyer chooses, both variants offer vastly improved range over the outgoing Soul EV. On-road performance is also enhanced, with significantly more powerful electric motors providing 395 Nm of torque – 39 per cent more than before.

As if that wasn’t exciting enough there’s also:

A Combined Charging System (CCS) DC fast charger is fitted as standard to both models, enabling shorter stops for charging. Both battery packs can be recharged from 20 per cent up to 80 per cent capacity in just 42 minutes from a 100 kW DC fast-charger.

Previous versions of the Soul EV have been V2G capable via a CHAdeMO connector. None of the images accompanying Kia’s announcement showed a close up of the shiny new Soul EV charging connector. Here’s the best we can do:

1680428_kia_pressrelease_2018_PRESS-HIGHRES_ESOUL_front-white

The $64,000 question at this juncture is therefore “Will Kia be demonstrating V2G over CCS at Geneva next month?”

Sono Motors Sion Supports AC Vehicle to Grid!

We have been following the development of the Sono Motors Sion “solar powered” electric vehicle with much interest for a while now. Here’s a new video from Robert Llewellyn’s “Fully Charged” series revealing recent progress by the Sono team:

Note in particular that at 10:35 into the video Jonny Smith says “It’s just so obvious you wonder whay it hasn’t been done before, followed by Fabian Duensing of Sion saying “This is, I would say, the secret weapon of this car”:

SonoSionSecret

Through this one, the type 2 outlet, you can take back the energy from the battery of the car, not only to devices but to the grid.

Jonny clarifies:

So vehicle to grid?

To which Fabian responds:

So vehicle to grid! It’s not just hardware, it’s a lot of software as well, to make it able to actually do it.

Note also that under the other side of the charging flap there is a CCS socket for DC rapid charging of the Sion’s battery pack on those long trips from the city into the countryside.

Nissan Announces the LEAF 3.ZERO

In a press release earlier this morning Nissan announced that:

Nissan has confirmed the evolution of the highly successful LEAF electric vehicle (EV) by launching two versions of the LEAF 3.ZERO. This new offer will broaden the appeal of EVs to more customers, and both models are ready to order from January 9, 2019.

Following a record-breaking year for Nissan electric vehicles, LEAF 3.ZERO brings to Europe’s best-selling electric vehicle a new 8-inch infotainment screen enabling additional connectivity services such as door-to-door navigation. An all-new and improved NissanConnect EV app will also be available when the LEAF 3.ZERO goes on sale in Europe.

The LEAF 3.ZERO – priced from £31,095 including the £3,500 UK Government Plug-in Car Grant – features the 40 kWh battery. New body colours and two-tone colour combinations will complete the choices. Customers can place their orders for LEAF 3.ZERO from now.

As you can see, other than the new colours the LEAF 3.0 looks a lot like the 2.0 flavour:

Exterior_03

The Nissan LEAF 3.ZERO e+ Limited Edition, priced from £36,795 including Government Grant, is also available to order from January 9. This limited edition – of which only 5,000 units will be produced for Europe – features a higher output capable of delivering 160 kW (217 PS) of power; 340Nm of torque; and a longer driving range expected to be up to 239 miles* from a single charge of the 62 kWh capacity battery.

Here’s a picture of the obviously highly desirable 62 kWh battery pack!

62kWh_Battery_181107_02

Nissan’s press release continues:

Both 3.ZERO launch versions are flagship models for the 2019 Nissan LEAF, sitting at the top of their respective ranges.

At the centre of the LEAF 3.ZERO e+ Limited Edition is an Intelligent Power-enhanced high-capacity battery and more powerful motor.

On the road, the LEAF 3.ZERO e+ Limited Edition will deliver a 40% range increase over the LEAF 3.ZERO which is equipped with a 40 kWh battery. This represents more than 62 miles additional range for a comparable usage, a clear evolution of the LEAF.

Now as you might expect there’s already a #RapidGate style kerfuffle about the LEAF 3.0 on social media. See for example:

I phoned Nissan and a spokesperson informed me that the 2019 LEAF does not possess an active battery cooling system. That’s because:

In the UK the average Nissan LEAF is driven 35-40 miles per day.

I was assured that if you should live near John O’Groats and fancy a trip to visit V2G Towers down here in North Cornwall your friendly local neighbourhood Nissan dealer will still lend you a Nissan Qashqai for up to 2 weeks per year. Enough said? I expect not!

I was also assured that the “5,000 units for Europe” refers to the 3.ZERO e+ Limited Edition, and that more 2019 LEAFs with 62 kWh battery packs will become available in due course.