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:

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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:

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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?

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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:

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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:

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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?”

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: