Guest article by Stefan Carsten
Mobility, energy and houses – a new convergence system
Vehicle-to-Grid (V2G) is a technology that enables EVs to feed energy into the grid. The basic idea is that EVs can not only utilise the grid for charging electricity, but can also feed it in via a charging point. That makes them a hub for supply, demand, production, consumption, mobility and immobility, and helps solve pressing energy industry issues.
• What happens if the grid becomes overloaded in mid-summer heat or freezing winter temperatures?
• What happens if the grid cannot supply enough energy due to renewable sources being unable to meet demand?
In that context, a decentralised network of battery packs and virtual power stations based on EVs will play a decisive role in the energy and mobility transition. This will give rise to new business and usage models involving self-sufficient houses and smart communications between customers, vehicles and utility companies.
The US and China are at the forefront of this technology
In response to China experiencing widespread power failures in the summer of 2022, the carmaker NIO began testing the ability of a total of 15 power swap stations in Hefei to feed electricity into the local grid. Within five days this virtual power station rebalanced the electric load with 8 MWh, corresponding to real-time savings for 3,000 households. NIO currently operates over 1,000 power swap stations all over China. According to NIO, its stations are currently equipped with 13 battery packs, which combined amount to 600 to 700 kWh of energy storage at any given time.
Advances with this technology and smart grids are also being made in the US. The focus here is on school buses, whose operating environment is ideal for bi-directional charging. An average bus has a battery capacity of 220 kWh and operates around six hours daily, 200 days a year. In the remaining period it can be used to provide energy. Thus, in Beverly, Massachusetts, school buses were able to feed a total of 3 mWh into the grid over a period of 50 hours, enough to supply 100 houses with electricity for one day.