Thursday, May 30, 2024

Automakers Anticipates Reduction As 2-Way EV Charging Becomes Reality

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Automakers, ranging from General Motors to Volvo Cars, together with utilities and charging app operators, are calculating their financial share as EVs that enable their owners to sell electricity back to grids become a more viable option. 

TakeAway Points:

  • Automakers, together with utilities and charging app operators, are calculating their financial share.
  • EV owners who use bidirectional, or vehicle-to-grid (V2G), charging can charge their vehicles at off-peak nighttime prices and resell the electricity back to networks at a profit during peak hours.
  • According to the report, in Germany, a significant European market, regulations about the cost of any energy sent back into the grid make bidirectional charging an unlikely possibility. In the United States, it is an experimental practice.

EV Charging Becomes Reality

EV owners who use bidirectional, or vehicle-to-grid (V2G), charging can charge their vehicles at off-peak nighttime prices and resell the electricity back to networks at a profit during peak hours.

According to Nick Woolley, CEO of UK software startup ev.energy, which is developing V2G technology alongside Siemens, Nissan, Volkswagen, and other companies, a million electric vehicles (EVs) could supply the same amount of power as a big nuclear power plant for brief periods of time.

As the only EV that could achieve V2G for many years was the Nissan Leaf, the technology remained mainly theoretical. With the aid of smart electricity metres, artificial intelligence, and modelling by creative energy companies, that has started to change.

Additionally, the majority of well-known automakers—including Tesla, BMW, Volkswagen, Renault, and Toyota—are anticipated to introduce V2G-capable cars in the upcoming years.

Importantly, the Chinese government intends to play a significant role in V2G by 2030. Chinese enterprises, including BYD, have also developed the technology.

“There is a lot of money to be made,” Doron Frenkel, CEO of Driivz, said of balancing grids. “Everyone wants their own piece of this.” Driivz has access to millions of EVs via the white-label charging software it provides to automakers and others.

According to the report, in Germany, a significant European market, regulations about the cost of any energy sent back into the grid make bidirectional charging an unlikely possibility. In the United States, it is an experimental practice.

Additionally, because bidirectional chargers are currently made on a smaller scale than traditional ones, their cost is higher.

In the United Kingdom, however, Octopus Energy has introduced a V2G plan for users that provides free charging for owners who leave their electric vehicles plugged in overnight. In its other energy markets, which include France, Japan, New Zealand, and the state of Texas in the United States, Octopus intends to impose a tariff parallel to this one this year.

“This is a real thing,” Octopus’ global head of flexibility, Alex Schoch, said. “It’s no longer a theoretical, academic discussion.”

ENERGY AND AUTO COMPANIES

One of the innovations leading to the greater proximity of V2G is the establishment of energy units by automakers, who are competing with software platforms, energy distributors, and others for V2G money.

They are currently unsure about their potential earnings. The majority of the funds will go to EV owners, leaving only cents per kilowatt for middlemen selling electricity to grids, but it would mount up over millions of EVs.

According to Aseem Kapur, head of GM Energy’s energy solutions, the company will introduce an electric Chevrolet Silverado pickup truck that can power houses in the coming months. This truck will use the same technology as V2G, and by 2026, all of GM’s EVs will be able to communicate with one another.

According to Kapur, GM intends to work with aggregators that combine a greater number of EVs to sell power, in addition to selling energy to utilities. Additionally, the carmaker is forming alliances with US utilities, such as Duke Energy.

AFFORDABLE CHECKS AND GRID BALANCE

In 2020, Shilpen Patel, 39, plugged in his Nissan Leaf for the Octopus Energy V2G pilot programme in London. This reduced his annual household energy bill by 700 pounds ($871.08), or nearly a third.

“The savings have been pretty remarkable,” Patel said.

Companies like Octopus currently provide grid balancing services as a forerunner to large-scale V2G. Grid operators compensate them for briefly shutting down EV chargers in order to avoid having to activate costly additional capacity.

For example, Denmark’s Monta provides grid balancing to charging app users in some areas for about 8 euros ($8.53) per month, while Driivz employs it to shield the Dutch grid from demand spikes.

As a prelude to V2G, Volkswagen’s energy unit Elli is developing a grid balancing trading platform in Germany. The head of the unit for energy solutions, Ingo Mueller, stated that the company intends to grow or collaborate with partners in other regions.

In some U.S. states, Nuvve offers V2G services for about 500 electric buses, which is a simple idea given that they are plugged in for most of the day and during school breaks.

However, convincing clients through applications with precise and appealing pricing would be crucial for passenger EVs.

The likes of Duke Energy, which is conducting bidirectional testing with GM and Ford, will do more business with platforms that have accurate AI predictions for the number of EVs that will be plugged in.

“You’ve got to be able to accurately predict how much capacity is available at any given time,” said Zachary Kuznar, managing director for grid solutions development at Duke.

Emerging platforms like Kaluza or The Mobility House aim to function as intermediaries, aggregating EVs across many brands, since automakers’ energy operations would typically lack the size to gather enough EVs locally to sell power to utilities.

According to Timo Kern, director of energy systems and markets at Munich-based energy research firm FfE, those middlemen will also have to make sure EVs do not overload grids if everyone charges at low rates and discharges  high ones.

According to Alexander Petrofski, head of Volvo Cars Energy Solutions, Renault has teamed with The Mobility House, while Volvo is working on its own platform as well as with others like Kaluza.

However, Kaluza’s chief product officer, Neel Gulhar, the company is also collaborating with other automakers such as Volkswagen, Stellantis, Nissan, GM, Mitsubishi, and Porsche in order to serve as a middleman with thousands of utilities.

He added that third parties, such as charging app providers, might operate V2G services using EV chargers and circumvent OEMs. But because of the data that manufacturers have access to, Kaluza wants to collaborate with them.

“We need those partnerships because you get a lot more data from the vehicle than you do from chargers,” Gulhar said.











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