New V2G Electric Nation project launched

A new phase of the Electric Nation EV charging project has been launched today (3rd June), with new Vehicle-to-Grid (V2G) trials starting across the Midlands, South West, and South Wales.

Run by Western Power Distribution (WPD) - the electricity distribution operator covering the regions - and smart-charging specialists CrowdCharge, the Electric Nation project is offering eligible participants the free installation of smart chargers worth £5,500.

Participants must have a Nissan electric vehicle with a battery size of 40 kW of more, and live in the regions covered by WPD.

Growth in the electric vehicle market means a greater demand placed on the grid for charging them. However, electric cars can offer a solution to this issue, by being movable energy storage devices, feeding electricity into the grid at peak times, and charging when demand is low.

This not only saves grid operators significant costs in upgrading large swathes of infrastructure, it also levels out the peaks and troughs found in UK electricity demand, and allows the potential for EV drivers to be paid for charging their car.

Smart charging can hold off EV charging away from peak times, such as between 5pm and 7pm, charging the car at a later time. V2G charging takes this a step further, by allowing households to draw electricity from the car directly, or feed electricity into the grid.

The new phase of the Electric Nation trial is looking for 100 people to take part in the project, to help operators understand how V2G can work and be effective going forward.

The application process is open now, though the timescale for charger installations is dependent on government advice in relation to coronavirus lockdown restrictions. For example, WPD's regions cover both England and Wales, which operate different lockdown rules at the time of publication.

This trial is using up to five different energy suppliers for a broader test of the systems involved, and a more realistic look at how many streets could operate in the future.

Roger Hey, WPD’s DSO Systems and Projects Manager, says: "The energy industry has to plan long-term, so it is urgent that we continue working to find the practical solutions to meet the government's net zero target. That is why we have begun recruitment for the Electric Nation Vehicle to Grid project now.

"V2G charging has the potential to transform how networks approach the challenge of keeping millions of EVs charged and moving. To introduce up to 38 million EVs to the UK network over the coming years would create great strain on the system, the equivalent of adding the electrical energy of London 14 times.

"By harnessing flexible systems and introducing V2G charging, it means that we can build a far more efficient and flexible network that doesn't require billions of investment and a huge uplift in capacity."

Mike Potter, CEO of CrowdCharge, comments: "Vehicle to grid charging is a great concept, but it hasn't yet been trialled sufficiently on Britain's electricity networks to enable it to be rolled out on a country-wide basis - hence the need for this project.

"This trial will study the real-world effects of V2G and look to provide a smart solution to provide management of electric vehicle charging. The project can provide an important insight into how the market and the DNO can operate for maximum benefit for all customers."

The V2G trial follows the first Electric Nation trial from 2018/19 which at the time was the world's largest EV smart charging trial, providing real life insight into people's habits when charging their vehicle. The trial provided data from more than two million hours of car charging, revealing the user habits on timings of charge, where and for how long, as well as the impact of different tariffs.

By plugging in at specified times and putting energy back into the grid, active participants of the Electric Nation Vehicle to Grid project are expected to earn a minimum reward up to the monetary value of £120, available over the one-year trial period from March 2021 to March 2022. Recruitment will take place from June 2020.

Trial applicants:
● Must be resident in the Western Power Distribution (WPD) licence area (Midlands, South West and South Wales)
● Must have a Nissan EV with a battery capacity of at least 30kWh or more
● Need to have the vehicle until the end of the trial (March 2022)
● Need to have off-road parking
● Will use the CrowdCharge mobile app to manage charging
● May need to switch to a new energy tariff if required by their assigned project energy supplier
● May need to have a new smart meter put in/updated as part of the project participation.

For more information, and to apply to join the project visit the Electric Nation website.

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Chris Lilly

Author:Chris Lilly
Date Updated:3rd Jun 2020

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