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  • Writer's pictureGregory Andrews

Vehicle-To-Grid Charging: A Game Changer

As Australia embarks on its energy transformation, one technology stands out to me as having huge potential: Vehicle-to-Grid (V2G) charging capability for Electric Vehicles. V2G will revolutionise the national electricity grid through instantaneous delivery of energy, and enhanced stability and efficiency. At the same time, it will also redefine how we utilise and benefit from cars. When we have a fully electric fleet, V2G will allow every car in Australia to become a mobile power station and battery for the grid. And with 21 million cars registered in Australia, that's going to be a lot of power.

Here’s a closer look at what V2G is; what it means for our energy system transformation; and why - if you're in the market for an EV - you should be asking about V2G capability.

What is Vehicle-to-Grid Technology?

V2G technology, also known as bi-directional charging, allows EVs to do more than just suck up electricity and use it to move. V2G allows EVs to provide stored power back to the grid. EV batteries store a considerable amount of electricity. The two EVs garaged at my home, for example, store 120 KW of energy. That's about six days of household energy. V2G, gives EVs when parked and plugged into the grid, the capacity to sell their stored electricity. This bi-directional flow of electricity makes each grid-connected EV a mobile power station and battery storage device.

How V2G Will Benefit Australia's Energy Transformation

Enhancing Grid Stability and Energy Integration

One of the primary benefits of V2G technology is its ability to enhance grid stability. The grid has to manage fluctuating supply and demand, a challenge intensified by the variable nature of renewable energy sources like solar and wind. V2G provides an excellent solution to this. It allows EVs to absorb excess renewable energy when supply exceeds demand and then release it back into the grid when it's needed most, such as during peak hours or when sunlight and wind are scarce. This not only helps in managing the grid more efficiently but also eliminates the need for so-called base-load power plants like coal, gas or nuclear.

Given that the average car is parked 95% of the time, EV's have huge potentail to meet base-load needs. To put this into perspective, imagine when all of Australia's cars are EVs. If one-quarter of our cars shared just one-quarter of their total stored energy, that would be the same amount of electricity that Australia's largest coal-fired power station, Eraring, produces in a day!

Reducing Energy Costs

For consumers, V2G presents an opportunity to reduce energy costs and earn an income. Vehicle owners will be able to earn payments or credits for allowing their EV’s battery to be used by the grid during high-demand periods. This will not only make owning an EV more attractive but also help to amortise the cost of the vehicle over time. When cars are sitting in garages, they can be earning money. Algorithims and apps can allow EV owners to decide how much and when. In the UK, they're already benefiting from V2G programs that pay up to $1,200 per annum for keeping cars plugged into the grid for at least eight hours a day. Furthermore, by contributing to grid stability, V2G will help reduce overall energy prices in the market, benefiting all consumers.

Decreasing Carbon Emissions

Of course, we can't forget that V2G technology will play a significant role in achieving a zero emissions future. By maximising the use of renewable energy and addressing its weaknesses, V2G will help us get off fossil fuels faster and more smoothly. Each EV participating in a V2G program essentially acts as a small-scale, zero-emission power plant.

The Future

V2G is still in the early stages of adoption in Australia. Currently, the only fully electric vehicle that supports V2G charging is the Nissan Leaf. Although a number of trials are already underway, the public infrastructure to support domestic bi-directional chargers is also still developing. Regulatory approval is also a challenge and will require action by state and territory governments. Queensland and South Australia are ahead of the curve on this.

The next few years will be crucial. Hyundai, Volkswagon, Audi, BMW and Volvo are all gearing up and rolling out V2G in Europe and other markets. According to The Driven, 2025 is probably the "go live year" for Australia. V2G is one thing that gives me active hope that we can fix the climate problem. Watch this space.

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2 commentaires

Peter Campbell
Peter Campbell
21 mai

Hi Greg,

I am inclined to think the benefits of V2G are a bit over-stated. Most of the benefits are available already without needing anything new from legislation or hardware simply from controlling charging. Turning charging cars down or off, reducing load, is the same for the grid as gaining additional generation. Turning charging of car up higher or on at times of high renewable generation is the same for the grid as storage because those cars won't be a charging load later.

My car has a 15A/3.5kW V2L facility. That is, it can provide an 240VAC output. In a blackout, my car could run the fridge, lights, device chargers, modem etc for days. The most convenient way to use…

Gregory Andrews
Gregory Andrews
21 mai
En réponse à

Thanks Peter. I agree on the benefits to each of us that you refer. I use our Vehicle-to-Load facility at present to run our house when there's a blackout etc. I think the benefit to the grid as a whole will be that, with algorthims and planning, millions of EVs will be able automatically to share a small share of their power to smooth out the grid and remove any need for so-called "based load power sources" like nuclear or coal and gas. EVs will become a giant mobile battery than helps smooth the grid. :-)

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