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Everything You Need to Know about V2G and V2H

An electric vehicle

Sales of electric vehicles (EVs) have skyrocketed in recent years due to rising consumer demand, the availability of more electric models than ever, and government incentives. EV sales surged by 186 percent in 2020, and more than one in ten new vehicles were electric in 2021, another record year for the EV market.

The number of electric vehicles is anticipated to increase quickly as the United Kingdom transitions to a net-zero transportation system. While the popularity of electric cars is undeniable, their battery is still considered a liability. But what if the battery in an EV could become a storage unit and be used as a source for powering other things?

This is possible through bidirectional charging. In this article, we will explain bidirectional charging and discuss two important concepts – vehicle-to-grid (V2G) and vehicle-to-home (V2H). 

Bidirectional Charging 

Bidirectional EV charging is two-way charging (back and forth). The grid will supply energy to the car, which can also be transmitted back to the grid or used to power other appliances in your home. 

With the use of bidirectional chargers, customers can export cheap off-peak or solar-generated electricity from a vehicle’s battery during the most expensive times of the day. Bidirectional charging has some challenges to overcome before it becomes widely used. It covers different use cases, including V2G and V2H. 

What is V2G?

A typical car is driven for only 6 hours a week. It is parked for the remaining 162 hours. It means that an average car is parked 96.5 percent of the time. Therefore, cars are mostly just stationary and unused most of the time. This is where V2G comes into play. EVs have a large battery that can store energy. V2G unlocks the true potential of EV batteries by allowing bidirectional charging between a car and the grid. In simple words, V2G enables an EV to deliver power back to the grid. 

Benefits of V2G 

Vehicle-to-grid reduces unforeseen costs associated with the construction of an energy system and helps balance out electricity demand. With V2G, there is no need to use more energy from the grid to balance out the short-term surges in electricity use in the building.

V2G can also support the power grid. The local grid may overload if electricity usage rises. The ability of a building to balance its demand for electricity with V2G charging stations benefits the power system on a wider scale. This will be useful when the amount of wind and solar-produced renewable energy in the system rises. Areas that rely on wind and solar power face difficulties because of the variable nature of renewable energy sources.

Due to “grid congestion” or bottlenecks caused by these situations, power may not reach its destination. Fortunately, intelligently regulated EVs can provide a grid congestion solution and avoid the need for pricey grid infrastructure modifications.

How Will V2G Become Mainstream? 

Many hardware manufacturers have created systems that work with vehicle-to-grid technology. V2G chargers are already available in various sizes and shapes, much like conventional charging devices.

The typical maximum charging power is 10 kW, which is quite enough for charging at home or work. Future charging solutions will be even more efficient. DC chargers are used for vehicle-to-grid charging since they can help avoid the automobiles’ own unidirectional onboard chargers.

There have also been initiatives where a car may be hooked into an AC charger while still having a DC charger aboard. But today, this is not a typical solution. In a nutshell, feasible devices are available, but there’s still room for improvement as the technology becomes more advanced. 

Presently, Nissan has surpassed other automakers in the introduction of V2G-compliant automobile models. V2G stations can be used to discharge any Nissan Leaf currently on the market. Many more manufacturers will ideally soon join the club of manufacturers who can support V2G. Mitsubishi, for instance, has also stated plans to commercialise V2G with the Outlander PHEV.

Vehicle-to-grid is just an illustration of the energy management opportunities that EVs provide. The fact is that, with or without V2G, the energy and mobility industries will merge. 

However, change encounters some resistance since huge wheels turn slowly. Nissan is setting a fantastic example for other automakers to collaborate with the energy industry to create something novel, game-changing, and boldly look to the future. 

What is V2H? 

EV batteries can be converted into domestic energy storage devices through the V2H system. The V2H technology allows for the transfer of electrical energy from EV batteries to homes during periods of high demand. It reduces the high electricity demand during peak hours and lowers electricity prices.

Your distribution board receives power via V2H by being connected to your electric car’s battery. Power is transmitted to plugs, devices, and appliances when V2H feeds your distribution board. Power is supplied to a sizable battery back integrated into your home when V2H feeds an energy storage system, which stores energy for later delivery.

Benefits of V2H

V2H technology gives you control over your energy consumption by moving some of the power you use from the grid to off-peak hours when energy prices are lower. 

To demonstrate this, picture yourself doing some housework while your electric car is charging in the driveway while you are at home. You are using a lot of electricity from the grid since you have several appliances on. Utilising V2H would allow you to use less grid power by using some of the energy that is stored in your EV to power your appliances.

Once you are done and appliances are off, you may recharge your car’s battery by using the grid at night while benefiting from cheaper off-peak rates. You can directly lower your energy cost by switching some of the power used when lower tariffs are available.

In addition to helping you save money, V2H can prevent overloads by offering an extra power source if your electricity demand exceeds what the grid can supply. In the event of a blackout, it can also serve as a backup energy source, enabling you to keep your house powered without a generator or storage battery.

Will V2H Degrade Battery Life? 

Some V2H critics contend that using the technology shortens the life of automotive batteries. The assertion itself is a little surprising considering how frequently automobile batteries are exhausted for us to be able to drive. 

Many believe that V2H refers to full power charging and discharging, which would involve the battery going from zero percent to 100% charge before returning to zero. That is not the case. Overall, since vehicle-to-home discharging only occurs a few times daily, it has no impact on battery life. 

Is V2H Available Currently? 

The number of EVs with V2H functionality is still small. Only the Ford F-150 Lightning provides V2H. This shows that even with all the advantages, a dependable bidirectional EV charging infrastructure is still far from being established. Since most current cars and charging stations are unidirectional, switching them will cost a lot of money.

Additionally, there are no uniform rules governing the integration of vehicles into the grid. This makes the widespread implementation of such technology challenging. Incentives for residential and commercial customers to switch to smarter charging systems are also lacking.

Final Thoughts 

The idea of using unused electricity from EVs is not new. For example, when the tsunami and earthquake in Japan’s Fukushima nuclear power plant in March 2011 resulted in extensive power interruptions, Nissan and Mitsubishi sent dozens of electric vehicles into the most severely affected areas.

These vehicles were used to transport relief workers and supplies, keep electronics charged, and provide heating. It also signalled the start of a new technology enabling buildings and households to share the electricity stored in batteries.

Today bidirectional charging is gaining more mainstream traction. V2H allows EV owners to channel electricity from a battery into a household and save money. At the same time, V2G enables you to sell electricity back to the grid at a higher cost than when it was purchased at off-peak times. Unfortunately, only a few vehicles boast V2G or V2H technology.

EV manufacturers will have to invest in these technologies for consumers to benefit from them on a broader scale. The government should also consider offering incentives to vehicle manufacturers to promote the development of V2G and V2H.