Next phase of Electric Nation V2G trial begins

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Western Power Distribution (WPD), in partnership with CrowdCharge, has launched the next phase of Electric Nation with a new vehicle-to-grid (V2G) trial across the Midlands, South West and South Wales.

The trial is open to Nissan EV drivers and provides a free smart charger worth £5,500.

Smart charging allows management of the time when EV charging occurs – as trialled by the original Electric Nation project – to help manage grid demand.

It is thought that V2G charging will be more effective than smart charging because it can link EVs together and put significant levels of energy back into the grid at peak times, like a huge decentralised power station.

This could help to reduce the grid’s need for additional energy generation, either through fossil fuels or renewable energy, at peak times.

The latest Electric Nation Vehicle to Grid project enables EVs to power homes and support the electricity network

Roger Hey, WPD’s DSO systems and projects manager, said: “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.”

To undertake the Electric Nation project, CrowdCharge is recruiting 100 domestic users to trial the new system.

Electric Nation is different to other V2G projects because it is using up to five different energy suppliers instead of just one.

This means that the trial is a more realistic simulation of a future world in which many streets will have a number of EVs using V2G chargers operated by different energy suppliers.

Trials will take place across three regions in the UK; the Midlands, South West and South Wales

In the Electric Nation trial each supplier will use their chargers to test their various energy services utilising CrowdCharge’s demand management charger platform, which provides optimised charging sessions.

Mike Potter, CEO of CrowdCharge, added: “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.

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