Nissan is driving the future of mobility forward with a vehicle-to-grid (VG2) demonstrator project that could prove instrumental in helping the UK transition to low-carbon transportation and a smart energy system. The £9.8 million e4Futures project will allow drivers to feed energy back into the electricity grid during peak times.
Over the next three years, Nissan will install 1000 V2G points that will evaluate a commercial offer to electric vehicle fleet consumers. The chargers will be controlled by an aggregator and data will be collected to understand the technical characteristics of vehicle-to-grid charging for both the vehicles and the electricity networks.
Nissan is joined by other key players across the V2G value chain, including National Grid, V2G infrastructure and aggregator provider Nuvve, and Distribution Network Operators UK Power Networks and Northern Powergrid. The research and analysis activities will be supported by Newcastle University and Imperial College London.
“Today, our electric vehicles are not just transforming the way we drive, but also the way we live,” said Francisco Carranza, Managing Director of Nissan Energy at Nissan Europe. “We now look at our cars as so much more than products which simply move people from A to B — they are an intrinsic part of the way we consume, share and generate energy. This will have a fundamental impact on the shift from fossil fuels to renewables.”
The integration of V2G technology brings to life Nissan’s Intelligent Mobility vision, demonstrating how zero-emission vehicles and energy management technologies can work in tandem to create a cleaner and more efficient energy network.
V2G technology allows electric vehicles to be fully integrated into the electricity grid and will help improve grid capability to handle renewable power, making renewable sources even more widely integrated and affordable.
National Grid’s head of business development Claire Spedding says the project offers a unique opportunity to support the growth of EVs and manage the anticipated increase in electricity demand. “Energy stored in electric vehicles can be fed back into the electricity network to help manage the network at times of high demand and be an additional tool for operating Great Britain’s electricity system,” Spedding said.
“Part of the demonstration project will include assessing whether EV owners are incentivized enough financially to provide power back to the grid when required, and help determine if any regulatory or policy interventions are required.”
Goran Strbac, Chair in Electrical Energy Systems at Imperial College London, also views the project as a game changer for the UK in decarbonizing the grid.
“Earlier studies carried out by the Imperial College London team have clearly demonstrated that in order to increase the share of renewables in electricity supply the production and consumption of electricity will need to become more flexible,” Strbac said.
“V2G is one of the most promising flexible technologies to emerge with an increased uptake of EVS. It can provide valuable services to a range of stakeholders in the energy sector, from transmission to distribution network operators to energy suppliers. We are keen to use the opportunity to analyze data from V2G trials to be carried out in the e4Future project to obtain a detailed understanding of how flexibility from EVs can help the system reduce carbon emissions at low cost for the customers.”
Nissan has been investing in vehicle-to-grid technology since 2015, following the commitment at COP21 to trial V2G technology in Europe. Nissan’s UK-based European R&D facility in Cranfield, UK was the first Nissan entity to install the technology in November 2016.
Over the past year and a half in Denmark, Nissan has been testing V2G technology as a revolutionary new way of driving. Going forward, this will become an offer open to all fleet customers throughout the country.
Private EV owners and businesses with large EV fleets will have the opportunity to create mobile energy hubs by integrating their vehicles into the grid. Nissan EV owners can connect to the grid to charge at low-demand, cheap tariff periods, with an option to then use the electricity stored in the vehicle’s battery to feed back to the grid which could generate additional revenue for the EV owner.