March 4, 2022
You may have come across the term V2G (vehicle-to-grid) in relation to electric vehicle (EV) charging. Maybe you’re not sure exactly what it is and how it works.
In this article, we’ll provide all the details you need to know about V2G, including the benefits of applying it, and what the future is likely to hold for V2G technology.
To put it in simple terms, V2G is a connection between an electric vehicle and the power grid that enables a two-way flow, either charging the vehicle from the grid or discharging the vehicle to feed power back into the grid.
The decision on whether to charge or discharge the vehicle is made based on the level of charge in the vehicle and market signals from the grid. In other words, during periods of high electricity demand, the grid may draw power from vehicles if there is enough available and recharge the vehicle when demand is lower and the price is cheaper.
The energy provider (or utility company) offers special V2G programs that customers can opt-in to, allowing the customer to define the amount of energy they are happy to send back to the grid when needed. It gives the customer the opportunity to cut the cost of charging their vehicle, while also helping the grid to meet peak demand.
The most recent projections predict that the V2G market will be worth $28.12 billion by 2026, so it is a growing technology that is here to stay, at least for the foreseeable future.
At the moment, it is still an emerging technology. It is currently undergoing thorough testing and trials to make sure that it is viable and functional over the long term. There are currently less than 100 projects actively using V2G events in the world.
However, the early signs are that V2G is viable and will become widely adopted over the next couple of years. For instance, a recent whitepaper report from Nissan and London’s Imperial College revealed that their trials of bi-directional V2G charging have been successful and there could be major benefits including reducing carbon emissions by 60 tonnes per year, per EV, and cutting fleet charging costs by up to £1250 per vehicle.
Partly due to the challenges listed above, we are not seeing too many charging station manufacturers releasing V2G chargers. The V2G hardware that has been developed is not being used at scale. However, due to the benefits listed below, we expect this situation to change over the next two years as manufacturers bring new products to market.
V2G technology is not limited to vehicle-to-grid relationships. Other types of V2G systems include:
For individual EV owners, if their utility provider has V2G or DR (Demand Response) programs, they can opt-in, enabling the car’s V2G capability to be activated during peak demand hours. In this case, the vehicle owner receives payment for any energy supplied to the grid. In other words, the owner is literally making money from their parked vehicle.
If the utility company is not able to provide this service, the vehicle owner can use V2H which supplies energy to their home, allowing them to cut their energy bills by reusing available energy stored in their vehicle or vehicles.
For grid operators, let’s say a utility company, V2G events can be used to prevent grid congestion, volatility, and energy imbalances, using the demand and supply of energy as a guide. Utilities can also provide carbon-zero energy when choosing to use available renewable energy, instead of more reliable fuel energy.
The Department of Defense calculated the financial benefits a few years ago. The calculation shows a possible return of around $170/kW per year from V2G. If you use a 15 kW charger, you could receive approximately $2,520 per year by providing V2G capability. The good news is that the charging station owner receives these returns even if no V2G had been requested during the period. You get paid simply by “being available in any case”.
NREL refers to other research studies from 2016 that show a possible net return of $17,384 for school bus fleets and $6,170 for transit buses.
V2G needs a variety of technologies in order to work.
At Ampcontrol, we use smart charging technology to optimize V2G events, while also optimizing energy costs, on-time departure, and grid stability. With smart charging, we are able to access and analyze the data points needed for V2G events to see whether it is possible in comparison to other goals, such as having enough energy for your next trip.
The energy market is constantly growing and evolving. The electric grid will have to adapt to the growing number of EVs and demand for fleet electrification. Some of the potential consequences may be:
V2G stands for vehicle-to-grid and it’s a system that enables the flow of energy from and to the grid.
V2G offers many benefits such as grid stability for utility companies and reduced energy bills for EV owners and fleet operators. However, there are some potential obstacles such as poor grid infrastructure and the potential for grid congestion.
Smart charging technology such as Ampcontrol software offers one of the most effective ways to deal with the challenges faced when implementing V2G as it analyzes charging data and helps to pinpoint the best and most cost-effective opportunities to charge the EV and when to push energy back into the grid.
To find out more, get in touch with one of our smart charging experts today.
Ampcontrol is a cloud-based software that seamlessly connects to charging networks, vehicles, fleet systems, and other software systems. No hardware needed, just a one-time integration.
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