V2G (vehicle-to-grid) is a bi-directional charging feature between electric vehicles and chargers, allowing the vehicle to send power to the grid.
The idea is simple – electric vehicles have big batteries that store lots of energy. While this energy is not in use on the road, it can be sent to the grid to supplement high energy demands.
As we learned in our V2L explainer, bi-directional charging is the future of electromobility, but unlike V2L, V2G hasn’t seen a boon just yet.
The future of V2G in the UK
V2G has the backing of UK energy regulator Ofgem. In September last year, Ofgem rolled out its priorities to unlock the full benefits of electric vehicles for consumers and listed vehicle-to-grid as one of them.
V2G could provide a temporary demand reduction of between 8GW and 20GW by 2050 with up to 45% of consumers participating with V2G, depending on the future energy scenario. When combined with demand reductions from smart charging, this could be up to 32GW (dependent on the scenario) – the equivalent of 10 large nuclear power stations.Ofgem.
A trial last year found that V2G charging can save consumers hundreds of pounds on their electricity bills. Consumers can be paid a fixed price per kWh for selling surplus energy back to the grid, helping offset energy consumption costs.
The report found that V2G offers big savings, but the technology also has high adoption costs, with the cost of V2G hardware and installation coming in at around £3,700 more than a smart charge point (check out our charger reviews).
One of the keys to this is EV manufacturer support for vehicle-to-grid, and several companies are making strides.
For instance, Volkswagen is aiming to roll out V2G technology in its electric vehicles in 2022 and across all second-generation MEB vehicles. Meanwhile, Nissan and Kia already have vehicles on the road with V2G technology.
Tesla has an odd relationship with V2G, with Elon Musk downplaying its role in electromobility. However, Tesla is likely to add V2G technology in future vehicles and might add it to some existing vehicles.
With the EV revolution increasing demand on the grid, it makes sense for EVs to play a role in balancing the grid to ensure a smooth transition. Bi-directional charging with EVs has other uses too, like powering houses in floods.