And you just thought a car was about getting from A to B...
Car manufacturer Nissan and multinational energy company Enel have announced a joint plan to launch the first ever vehicle-to-grid (V2G) trial in the UK.
The pilot will see one hundred V2G units installed and connected at locations agreed by both private and fleet owners of the Nissan LEAF and e-NV200 electric van.
By enabling Nissan electric vehicle owners the ability to plug their vehicles into the V2G system, they will have the option to sell stored energy from their vehicle battery back to the National Grid.
This initiative takes the use of electric vehicles (EV) way beyond the their usage as a means of getting about, transforming them into clean mobile energy units, whose unused power can power homes, offices, schools and hospitals.
This announcement follows on from the signing of the Nissan-Enel V2G partnership agreement in December 2015 in Paris during the 21st UN Conference on Climate Change (COP21) and the subsequent installation of 40 V2G units in Denmark in January this year.
While Nissan electric vehicle owners will be able to earn money from their cars, this pilot is set to shake-up the way energy is supplied to the grid.
Once scaled up, the V2G technology could become a game-changer with initially, an aggregate of Nissan EV owners in the UK becoming active participants in the UK energy market.
Paul Willcox, Chairman of Nissan Europe, said: “Today’s landmark trial in the UK is a significant step forward in renewable energy management, helping shape the future of industries, cities and societies.
“Smart energy management is one of the biggest challenges any nation faces for the future which is why this trial is so critical in assessing the feasibility of using variable, more flexible energy sources.
“We see Nissan electric vehicles as being the mobile energy hubs of the future, pioneering a self-sustaining energy infrastructure that will help solve the capacity issues of the future.
“This is the first time this has ever been done in the UK and by enabling customers to sell energy back to the grid, we’re providing a financial incentive to choose the sustainable option,” he said.
Ernesto Ciorra, Enel’s Head of Innovation and Sustainability said: “We are thrilled about the launch of this project in the UK. The installation of our innovative two-way charging technology will encourage the integration of non-programmable renewable energy flows into the grid and will help the spread of electric mobility in the country, benefiting the energy sector and the environment, while also having a positive impact on electric owners’ wallets.
“The fact that Nissan has chosen Enel’s charging technology to trial in the UK is the perfect demonstration of just how much potential the Group’s V2G electric vehicle charging system has to revolutionise not only transport but also the way electricity distribution works.”
Steve Holliday, former CEO at National Grid, said: “At National Grid we are constantly looking to the future to ensure we have the capacity to meet national energy demand - it’s our job to future proof the national transmission network.
“The rapid uptake of electric vehicles is certainly positive yet could also be challenging if we don’t plan ahead.
“One of our future energy scenarios indicates that there could be up to 700,000 electric vehicles in 2020 requiring an extra 500 MW of energy. That’s why we support innovative technologies and pioneering projects such as this one that have the potential to make a real difference to the way we manage energy supply and demand.”
Nissan has calculated that if all its 18,000 electric vehicles in the UK were connected to the energy network, they would generate the equivalent output of a 180 MW power plant.
Scaling that up to a future where all the vehicles on UK roads are electric, V2G technology could generate a virtual power plant of up to 370 GW, providing enough capacity to power the UK, Germany and France.