A report has found that electric vehicle (EV) drivers could save up to £300 a year by saving and sharing electricity in their car’s battery, though barriers must be overcome.
The report, published on 2 December, was part of the HAVEN project – Home as a Virtual Energy Network – which saw Good Energy, Honda Motor Europe, the University of Salford and Upside Energy join forces. The study was designed with the aim of assessing vehicle-to-grid (V2G) technology. It saw an EV used alongside a special charger and other home systems, including battery storage, solar panels, a smart hot water tank and heat pumps. The research was carried out at Salford’s Energy House where researchers were able to control weather settings within the facility, allowing for a range of scenarios to be tested. This enabled them to make it rain, snow or shine as well as shifting temperatures from -10°C to 30°C. Researchers were able to see what times the technology was at most its effective from generating power from solar panels, to storing it overnight in an EV, or exporting excess power to the National Grid.
The researchers concluded that while the average home was able to save £300 through V2G, significant barriers – including outlay costs currently being high – are blocking V2G from reaching its full potential. The report stressed that policy incentives to bring prices down are required, allowing a greater number of households to participate. The need for scale was also cited as key to making V2G work. It explained that EV batteries are capable of absorbing excess power and reducing stress on the network, however, this is only efficient in the UK’s current grid system if a substantial number of EVs are connected within a localised area. This means larger scale localised connections are needed. Car parks with several connected cars were suggested as an initial route to efficiently sharing power with National Grid in times of need. The report earmarked the role government has to play in supporting V2G units, explaining that with the right level of investment and support, V2G technology could come to play a significant part in the transition to net zero.
Julian Davenport, CEO and Founder of Good Energy, said: “We must take a distributive ‘whole systems’ approach to tackling the climate emergency. That is why vehicle to grid is so exciting — it is the missing link between electrification of transport and decarbonisation of our grid and our homes. V2G is where solar power was 10 years ago – the technology exists but it requires innovation, investment and joined up thinking. With the right policy support it could become another clean technology British success story.”