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PHOTO CAPTION: Nissan LEAF with Enel V2G hookup

Nissan, Enel Plan V2G Experiment in UK

Participants in the UK-based demonstration program will be compensated for sharing their electric car battery capacity with power grid.

Published: 13-May-2016

Automotive industry leader Nissan and multinational power company Enel, today confirmed plans to launch a major vehicle-to-grid (V2G) trial – the first ever carried out in the UK. The trial will work by installing and connecting one hundred V2G units at locations agreed by private and fleet owners of the Nissan LEAF and e-NV200 electric van. By giving Nissan electric vehicle owners the ability to plug their vehicles into the V2G system, owners will have the flexibility and power to sell stored energy from their vehicle battery back to the National Grid. -- Nissan UK Press Release, May 10, 2016

It's finally starting to happen. Vehicle-to-grid, once just a theory, which EV World first highlighted nearly two decades ago, is starting to become a reality. First proposed by Drs. Willet Kempton and Steve Letendre in 1997, various experiments have sought to validate the concept of using electric cars to store energy from the grid to provide various valuable services from peak shaving to frequency stability.

Now Nissan in the UK and Enel are going to test the notion with both private and fleet owners of both the Nissan LEAF and e-NV200 electric delivery van. While this initial trial will be manageably small, the industry is forecasting that by 2050 there could be as many as 2.4 billion vehicles on the world's roads, and by then a fair share of them will have to be electric. That poses both a challenge and an opportunity. Nissan, which apparently is now in the process of acquiring controlling interest in Mitsubishi, another EV and PHEV manufacturer in Japan, see its vehicles being "used for more than just getting from A-to-B. They will turn into clean mobile energy units whose unused power can be sent back to the grid to power homes, offices, schools and hospitals."

Even in the near term, the present rate of EV uptake in Britain possess a challenge. Notes Nissan's Steven Holliday, "Our Future Energy team predict that there could be up to 700,000 Electric Vehicles in 2020 requiring an extra 500MW of energy. That’s why we support innovative technologies and pioneering projects such as this one that have the potential to make a real difference to the way we manage energy supply and demand.”

Since most automobiles, ICE-age or EV sit parked most of the day, this presents the opportunity to tap them for grid storage, especially for variable, renewable sources like wind and solar. The company illustrated this approach recently in its "Fueling Station of the Future" video below.

EV World has asked Nissan in the UK about what it plans in the way of driver compensation for plugging into the V2G network, as well as what impact it is likely have on battery life and consequently on the car's warranty. When we hear back, we'll update this article. But from work done by Dr. Kempton at the University of Delaware, it might amount to between $1000-1,500 annually. That won't pay for the car, but it certainly can help.

Addendum

Nissan's UK Press Communications Officer Nayab Khan responded to our questions:

"The trial will determine what/how participants will be paid. Nissan batteries are fully optimised for maximum longevity and are designed to cope with external factors that can increase battery degradation such as excessive rapid charging. So far the V2G trial that is taking place in Denmark has not shown increased acceleration of the ageing of the battery. However, V2G is a new technology and obviously battery health will be monitored closely for the duration of the trials."

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