Electric vehicles come with a lot of advantages. Emission-free, efficient, and optionally rechargeable, as well as being an amazing transportation means. V2G (Vehicle-to-grid) technology allows plug-in electric vehicles to interact with power grids and supply the grids with excess energy in batteries. The idea of Vehicle-to-grid has existed since the beginning of the twenty-first century, precisely in 1997. The future of V2G technology ties its probability with that of the use of electric vehicles.
I was surprised to find that experts worldwide have scepticism about how feasible V2G technology would be in the future. However, technology is never exactly accepted by all and sundry at the point of inception. The future of V2G technology is still bright as the development of smart grids technologies and the production of PEVs (Plug-in Electrical Vehicles) would tend to stimulate it.
Like science, it would thrive when it works according to the hypothesis and proves itself when it is accepted. I still see the trend of V2G technology taking over the world of plug-in electric vehicles.
Growth and Trends in V2G Technology
In a book by Dr Lance Noel and three others (Vehicle-to-grid, a sociotechnical transition beyond electrical mobility), they highlighted the usefulness of V2G in the electric vehicle industry as one which has the potential of moving the industry forward. This is due to their point of view that V2G technology is an excellent motivation for the EV (Electrical Vehicles) market. I cannot as well agree less. The V2G technology market is growing at a fast pace.
Currently, precedence research tells that the global vehicle-to-grid technology market would have attained up to $17.27 billion by 2027. This was predicted from the high rate of growth of EV charging stations all around the world. In 2019, Europe had the largest share of revenue in the Vehicle-to-grid market with about 36% share.
As many companies are investing more in research and development, I have also observed that the growth rate in EVSEs – Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment revenue has increased globally to up to 80%. I relate with the positive predictions of the future of V2G technology from these trends. They give a better platform for the connection between grids and electric vehicles.
Recent Developments in V2G Technology
Coming down the time train from various industrial ages, it is evident that the current age – artificial intelligence age – speaks of a smart age. The concept of smart cities integrates smart homes, smart vehicles, smart grids, and all smart devices in one. Various attempts have been made to develop the technologies that aid the approaching of smart cities. A major key player among these technologies is the electric vehicle. For continuity, V2G technology has continually been researched and is hoped to come closer to reality.
Some remarkable developments in V2G technology I have observed in the past five years include:
- Development of smart grids for electricity and load management – This allows for regulations that would aid apt control in the charging and discharging of electric batteries. EV owners can push the power from the batteries back to the grid and vice versa (in the normal charging situation – G2V, Grid-to-Vehicle). Electric utilities already maximize power by using smart grids, which is a step toward promoting V2G technology.
- Development of batteries and charging systems with the bidirectional operation – In September 2020, Tesla unveiled a new EV battery design that allows for adaptation to the V2G technology. However, it was given that the production of new batteries will start around 2022 and 2023.
Despite speculations about when it would start being applied, this development gives a picture of readiness for change. These new batteries cost about 56% less than the former batteries and store up to 380 Wh/kg. The capacity increases, and the cost decreases. The use of stationary storage facilities poses threats and has its advantages. Yet, we should explore the concept of mobile power storage by virtue of the V2G technology. I believe we can all do more rather than box ourselves with the norm.
Applications in the Future of V2G Technology
The application of V2G technology is major to power grids. This can then be applied in the regular diverse applications. Consequently, the best way to maximize V2G technology is by utilizing it alongside smart grids.
We can apply V2G technology to power homes as well. It can serve as a service that is more consumer-controlled. The same way it is connected to public grids or community grids, your EV can be channelled to provide the power needed from time to time in your homes.
A solar-powered car can provide power to your home when the battery is full or the grid during high demand using the V2G technology. Its application in this area is even essential. This is because temporary storage and proper control of excess power are necessary to avoid fluctuations. What better use than to channel the stored energy to grids where it is needed. The same goes for cars with rechargeable batteries and those with inbuilt generators. V2G technology makes power distribution and production better.
The Next Ten Years – Engineering Advancements to Come in the Future of V2G Technology
A two-sided energy flow idea gives a picture of what the future holds for V2G technology – flow between energy generation and distribution corporations and consumers. V2G technology is on the verge of becoming more widely accepted as electric vehicles are rapidly increasing worldwide. Electric vehicles recorded a 40% increase in yearly sales in 2019 and have continued to grow. To combat the issue of peak demand, you can expect V2G technology to be developed practically and increasingly adopted before 2030.
As technology continues to advance, I expect that batteries will get charged faster, leading to more demand from the grids. As a result, there would be a greater need to balance grid systems, and V2G technology can address most of the problems.
The world would need renewable energy and power sources more than before due to apparent reasons – climate change effects and gas emissions from fossil-fuel-generated power, consequently impacting the grids and their management. V2G technology would contribute to intervening aptly to avert consequences, and I look forward to its full utilization.
You may have heard of the Vehicle-to-Grid(V2G) business model for electric cars, but no one has convinced you of how viable and profitable it could be if done on a larger scale. Then stay-on to this blog-post, as we have the experts’ answers for you.
This article explores the practical business model for V2G. Primarily for a fleet manager, and how much benefits you can harness from such a model. We are aware that there are still many people sceptical about the success and profitability of the V2G business model; a careful read of this will resolve your doubts.
An Overview of What V2G Technology Involves
Vehicle-to-Grid is a bi-directional interaction between an electric vehicle and an energy distribution grid. With V2G, an electric car can send its stored energy to the network and vice versa when the vehicle’s battery pack needs to be charged.
For V2G to be possible, a connecting system that allows the bi-directional flow of energy and information must be present. One of the communication interfaces is called the ISO/IEC 15118 – “an international standard defining a vehicle to grid (V2G) communication interface for bi-directional charging/discharging of electric vehicles.” CharIN, a Berlin-based company, recently began the implementation of the ISO 15118 communication interface – also called Plug and Charge.
Another protocol that’s already in use is the CHAdeMO – a DC charging protocol for EVs; CHAdeMO Association, a Japanese-based company, develop it. Car manufacturers like Toyota, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Tesla, Kia, Mazda, Subaru, BD and Peugeot already have the CHAdeMO interface in place in some of their EVs.
It’s sufficient to say that a couple of EVs are ready for the V2G technology application; however, what are the benefits and who are the stakeholders?
A Business Case For V2G
As energy produced from renewable sources is increasing, there’s been a challenge of effectively distributing the energy we produce because renewable energy sources (RES) have their peculiarities. For instance, wind turbines and photovoltaic cells produce electricity when the wind blows, and the sun shines. Since these are not predictable, we must manage the energy produced effectively.
“Effectively” means that when the produced energy from a RES is not needed, the energy is stored; and when it’s needed, you supply it back into the grid. You can easily proffer a solution for building battery bank centres, but there are consequences of capital and profitability.
Instead of constructing battery banks, there are impressive batteries with substantial capacities already present in electric vehicles that we can harness. And fortunately, EVs now have a wider spread across the world, and we’ve predicted the spread to increase.
An important question that may pop-up is – won’t the car be in-use? Research shows that most cars are in use about 2-3 hours of the day. Most times, we park our vehicles. It’s possible to exploit this situation for V2G, especially if the EV owner follows a patterned charge-and-use cycle; which is why using V2G for a company fleet proves to be the most productive business model.
Therefore, this leaves us with a large pool of mobile battery capacity that the grid can adopt for temporary energy storage. Aside from storing energy, we can use V2G to regulate the grid’s frequency and also manage the energy demand response during peak and off-peak periods.
All these said, the adoption of V2G adds value to these stakeholders:
- Utilities: V2G services can help to store and manage energy produced from RES. It’s also an economical solution for ancillary services in a grid.
- DSOs can adopt V2G services as a demand balancing mechanism and load control within a local grid.
- The EV owner enjoys monetary perks and favourable charging conditions.
- The EV Fleet manager is the focus of the article and thus deserves that we discuss separately. A company fleet manager also falls under this category.
Indirectly, adopting V2G saves the environment by promoting renewable energy sources and avoiding the production of new Lithium-ion batteries(whose manufacturing process can be harmful to the environment.)
How Can an EV Fleet Manager Benefit From The V2G Business Model?
For an individual user, V2G offers minimal benefit in comparison with the amount of investment that you will need for running a full V2G service. However, a fleet manager with access to a significant number of EVs can add a new source of revenue by adopting V2G services for the EVs managed by his/her company.
An EV fleet manager can provide V2G business services for frequency control or for managing peak shaving.
Frequency Control V2G business Model:
Through active communication with the grid, the EVs in a fleet supply energy or draw energy from the grid in response to its current frequency value. This model also favours the life-span of the EV’s batteries as it involves a shallow charge/discharge cycle of the battery.
Managing Peak Shaving V2G business Model:
During peak periods, the EVs supply energy to the grid to meet the excessively high demand for electricity. While during the off-peak hours, you can charge up your EVs to their normal state. Unlike the frequency control model, this reduces the life-span of the vehicle’s battery.
The analysis below is an excerpt from Kaufmann, A. (2017). Vehicle-to-Grid Business Model–Entering the Swiss Energy Market (Doctoral dissertation, University of St. Gallen).
“Assuming a 10kW bidirectional charger, and an EV available for V2G services 12 hours a day on average. The revenue accumulated over one month is 10kW x (12hr x 30days) x 0.029CHF/kWh = 104 CHF as a capacity price only.”
According to the analysis, the revenue you can generate per month from one EV is approximately $105, which sums up to $1,260 per year. A fleet with 20 EVs can produce up to $25,200 annually. Fifty EVs will generate $63,000 annually – this’ just an example as V2G services can be dynamic.
To boost revenue generation, an EV fleet manager can decide to target EV users with a more organised movement pattern and charging sequence.
Operating a V2G business service as a fleet manager will require an active management system that allows you to optimise your processes and provide your fleet services more efficiently. Our Hive Manager solution is integrated with blockchain technology to enable you to control your EV fleet system locally effectively.