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?”

P.S. Here is the inimitable Robert Llewellyn’s initial review of the new Nissan Ariya for his Fully Charged Show:

It includes this informative infographic:

Bobby mentions that “the other good thing it does is over the air updates” at that juncture, but sadly doesn’t address our vehicle-to-grid $64,000 question.

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.

UPS Order 10,000 ARRIVAL eVans – With V2G?

In a press release earlier this week UPS announced that:

UPS today said its venture capital arm, UPS Ventures, has completed a minority investment in Arrival, which makes electric vehicle (EV) platforms and purpose-built vehicles that offer a highly competitive value proposition when compared with both traditional internal combustion engine vehicles, as well as existing EVs. Along with the investment in Arrival, UPS also announced a commitment to purchase 10,000 electric vehicles to be built for UPS with priority access to purchase additional electric vehicles.

ARRIVAL has also released this video:

UPS invests in Arrival and orders Generation 2 Electric Vehicles from Arrival on Vimeo.

One thing that other news reports seem to have missed is that ARRIVAL are members of the Innovate UK Vehicle to Grid Oxford consortium (V2GO for short):

Arrival is a technology company fuelled by the ambition to make EVs the new normal. Driven by a team curated from the world’s most renowned technology and automotive brands, Arrival have taken a blank canvas and turned it into something extraordinary. Designed from the ground up, Arrival has created electric vehicles as they should be – simple, smart, modular. One skateboard platform, easily scaled, easily manufactured, easily turned into multiple vehicle types. This completely unique approach is what will pave the way to delivering premium, autonomous ready, electric vehicles on mass without a premium price tag.

Arrival will be developing the vehicle-to-grid enabled light commercial vehicle for project V2GO. This will be used for the real life assessment of V2G.

Here’s Katherine Collett from the University of Oxford explaining the benefits of combining vehicle-to-grid technology with a fleet of electric delivery vans:

Hence one cannot help but wonder whether any of the thousands of ARRIVAL vans that UPS have just ordered will be equipped with V2G capabilities? If so we have just the thing for charging and discharging them in our car park:

DSC_0460

Perhaps UPS would like to order a few of those for research purposes?

Honda and Moixa Announce V2G Pilot Project

According to a Honda press release yesterday:

Honda is installing five bi-directional electric vehicle charging points at Islington Town Hall in London, in partnership with smart charging specialists, Moixa. The initiative will help Islington Council electrify its entire vehicle fleet; part of its efforts to achieve net-zero emissions by 2030.

This is the first project resulting from the collaboration between Honda and Moixa, which was announced at Geneva Motor Show in 2019. The strategic partnership forms a significant part of Honda’s Electric Vision strategy to deliver industry-leading innovation through a portfolio of energy management products and services in Europe.

The bi-directional vehicle-to-grid (V2G) chargers incorporate Moixa’s GridShare smart software, which optimises EV battery charging when grid power is cheapest and cleanest. The software can also aggregate groups of plugged-in EVs to provide battery power to the grid when it is most expensive and carbon intensive. When EVs are plugged in to all the chargers, the smart technology can provide enough energy to power the base load of Islington Town Hall.

The press release was accompanied by an image showing a CCS connector plugged into the front of an anonymous vehicle with a Honda badge:

However a Moixa press release about the Islington project had a somewhat different emphasis:

At Moixa, we’ve hit the ground running in 2020, unveiling a new smart EV charging project to optimise Islington Council’s fleet at the town hall. This is an exciting first step in our partnership with Honda, to deploy smart EV charging and management solutions across Europe.

We’re working with Honda to support Islington Council achieve its ultra-low emissions zone (ULEZ) standard across its fleet of 500+ vehicles. The council’s goal is to electrify its entire fleet, cutting 1,400 tonnes of dangerous carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions every year. This project will reduce harmful air pollution, save money for essential services and help Islington achieve its 2030 net-zero carbon emissions target.

and a rather different image:

That looks suspiciously like a CHAdeMO connector plugged into the front of a Nissan e-NV200 van, with Simon Daniel and Chris Wright from Moixa looking on in the background!

According to Chris, who is Moixa’s Chief Technology Officer:

The EV revolution will put millions of ‘batteries on wheels’ on our roads in the next decade. By using AI-driven charging technology, we can intelligently manage these fleets of batteries, securing lowest-cost charging and highest-impact carbon savings. Our project with Honda and Islington shows what is possible and provides a blueprint for all large organisations to follow.

Whilst according to Honda Motor Europe’s Project Leader of Energy Management,
Jørgen Pluym:

As the shift towards electrification accelerates, we must continue to innovate with projects like these – helping to drive awareness and uptake of charging solutions and advanced vehicle-to-grid technologies. Honda is committed to promoting sustainable future energy management in Europe, and this project in Islington represents an important part of our vision for future energy solutions.

It looks to me as if Islington Council already possesses one or more Nissan e-NV200’s, but I suspect they will have to wait quite a while for a V2G enabled Honda, especially if it’s vans that they’re after!

Masdar invests in UK’s Charging Infrastructure Investment Fund

In a press release yesterday Masdar announced that:

Masdar, one of the world’s leading sustainability investors and renewable energy developers, has today joined UK government leaders in London for a specialised industry event to discuss its recent investment in the Charging Infrastructure Investment Fund (CIIF).

Hosted by the Infrastructure and Projects Authority (IPA) at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in Whitehall, participants included Simon Clarke, Exchequer Secretary to HM Treasury, Khaled Al Qubaisi, CEO of Aerospace, Renewables & ICT for Mubadala, HE Mansoor Abulhool, UAE Ambassador to the UK, Mohamed Jameel Al Ramahi, CEO of Masdar, Matthew Vickerstaff, Deputy CEO of IPA, and Samer Salty, Managing Partner of Zouk Capital.

Masdar, a subsidiary of Mubadala Investment Company, last month became the first commercial investor in the UK government’s £400 million CIIF, which aims to more than double the country’s electric vehicle charging infrastructure with 3,000 new rapid charge points by 2024 as part of its ambition to end the sale of petrol and diesel vehicles by 2040.

To be managed by Zouk Capital, Masdar has invested £35 million in the fund, which has been matched by the UK government.

UK-CIIF-group

HM Government also published a transcript of the speech made by Simon Clarke, the Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury, at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office yesterday:

In November of last year, I was one of 50 Tory MPs who wrote to the Prime Minister and urged her to set a target of net-zero emissions by 2050.

We felt then as we do now – that that we could decarbonise through science, not economic sacrifice…

…That our method would not be hair-shirted self-denial, but innovation and investment driven by the right incentives.

Our past should give us confidence.

This country’s ingenuity has kept the UK at the forefront of science and engineering for hundreds of years.

And, provided we keep our ambitions high, we will lead the world for hundreds more.

And the goal of net zero emissions will inspire us all to great heights of achievement.

Entrepreneurs will see opportunities in new industries, and create jobs all around the UK.

And the new technologies they create will clean the air we breathe, and cut the bills in our homes.

In June this year, the government became the first major economy in the world to adopt the Net Zero 2050 target, which is fantastic news.

I was made a minister a month later and – while this is possibly slightly less momentous – I can assure you all I will do everything I can to make sure the government keeps its promise.

By way of Her Majesty’s Government keeping its Net Zero promises, Mr. Clarke went on to say that:

The Charging Infrastructure Investment Fund is in many ways emblematic of our approach to Net Zero.

Our philosophy isn’t that government can solve everything.

Of course, we have an important role to play – but we have to do it in partnership with the energy and expertise of the private sector.

Our approach is therefore to set up the right incentives and conditions, and then allow a powerful green market to flourish.

In this case, we wanted to encourage more people to buy and use electric vehicles, or EVs, which are far less polluting than traditional cars.

We set up grants for cars, taxis, vans and motorcycles.

But we realised that people looking at buying EVs were wary of getting marooned, without any battery in their car left and miles away from home or the nearest charging point.

And handouts wouldn’t cut it – we needed to unleash the power of the market.

So, with Zouk Capital, we set up the Charging Infrastructure Investment Fund as a catalyst, with government money matching any private capital that comes in to maximise impact.

And we were delighted that Masdar chose to invest £35 million in the fund – which the government topped up to £70 million – for the installation of 3,000 rapid chargers across the country.

This more than doubles the UK’s number of rapid chargers, producing a dense network of stopping points where family cars can be charged in 20 minutes flat – the time it takes for a sandwich and a coffee on the way to the seaside.

And, further, it shows Masdar’s continued participation in the UK’s clean energy commitments.

Masdar has invested more than £3 billion in the UK in the past ten years, predominantly in offshore wind.

It’s a pleasure to welcome Mohamed Al Ramahi here today for the signing ceremony and to talk more about how we can work together.

Here’s hoping that Zouk Capital, HM Government and/or Masdar also decide to invest in vehicle-to-grid capable “destination” charging points in the not too distant future. If the UK is aiming for “Net Zero” carbon emissions in the foreseeable future one way or another UK plc needs to back up offshore wind and other renewable energy generation with some form of storage of that energy for those times when the wind doesn’t blow and the sun doesn’t shine. Electric vehicle battery packs can provide a very cost effective way of achieving that end, assuming that the appropriate infrastructure is already in place.

A problem we are already working hard on solving down here in the Wild and Windy West Country!