“Vehicle to Everything” Tech Could be Huge for EVs

January 25, 2023

There’s going to be a lot of energy storage potential in a lot of garages pretty soon. Leveraging it could be a huge deal for owners, and the energy transition.


Energy software platform Kaluza has announced the launch of Inflexion, a vehicle-to-everything (V2X) bidirectional charging program that it hopes it will open up vehicle to everything technology to all electric vehicle models.

Kaluza has also announced a “world-first” trial to be conducted in the UK with Volkswagen Group, energy retailer Ovo Energy and infotech company Indra, that will mark the first real-world use of bidirectional charging with Combined Charging Systems (CCS), the charging standard now used by most EVs.

The program aims to prove the technology using Volkswagen’s CCS vehicles and Ovo energy customers with the Kaluza’s platform coordinating the system between EV owners and the energy retailer.

V2X technology enables electric vehicle owners to power their home using their EV, use their EV as a backup power source during outages and sell surplus energy back to the grid. The platform also allows energy suppliers to engage EV owners to participate in energy trading.

The use of CCS charging means the Inflexion trial is a potential game-changer for V2X technology as CCS is used on millions of EVs. If successful could accelerate the rollout of V2X dramatically.

Although Inflexion will be the first trial of its kind using CCS technology, Kaluza recently completed another trial with Ovo Energy customers which it claims was the world’s largest domestic V2G trial. The 36 month programme involved over 330 V2G chargers.

Kaluza’s report on the program showed average customer savings of £420 per year and 3 million “free” miles driven which is almost 15,000 km per vehicle.

Kaluza gained a lot data from the 3 year trial and key takeaways such as engaging with auto OEMs early, collaborating closely with policymakers and regulators and the importance of building customer confidence from the outset. Valuable lessons it willcarry into the Inflexion CCS program.

“This is not just about driving renewable energy solutions forward, it’s about demonstrating how customers can actually reduce their energy bills by making the switch to an EV,” said Alex Thwaites, Head of Zero Carbon Living at Ovo Energy.

“With Ovo’s V2G tariff trial we saw some EV drivers save up to £800 a year on their bills.”

In December 2022 battery electric vehicle sales soared to 33% of all new cars sold in the UK. Kaluza says that as one of the world’s fastest-growing EV markets, the UK is the perfect testbed for V2X.

According to Kaluza’s data, if all vehicles in the UK today were electric and V2X-enabled they could displace 60% of all gas backup generation currently active in the UK.

Inflexion is part of the UK’s V2X (vehicle-to-everything) Innovation Programme which aims to address barriers to enabling energy flexibility from bi-directional electric vehicle charging.

“V2X will have a transformative effect on decarbonising our energy system but only if we make it accessible and affordable for all,” Scott Neuman, CEO at Kaluza said in a statement.

‘Inflexion is an exciting step for the industry to engage and learn from real EV drivers and bring this game changing technology closer to true, commercial scale. Kaluza is ideally positioned to lead this work with our advanced software and extensive ecosystem of partners.”

There’s an enormous opportunity for vehicle-to-grid to accelerate the world’s transition away from fossil fuels.

A recent study showed that just a fraction of EV owners participating in V2G could provide the entire world’s short-term battery storage requirements.

Singularity Hub:

Boosting the role of renewables in our electricity supply will require a massive increase in grid-scale energy storage. But new research suggests that electric vehicle batteries could meet short-term storage demands by as soon as 2030.

While solar and wind are rapidly becoming the cheapest source of electricity in many parts of the world, their intermittency is a significant problem. One potential solution is to use batteries to store energy for times when the sun doesn’t shine and the wind doesn’t blow, but building enough capacity to serve entire power grids would be enormously costly.

That’s why people have suggested making use of the huge number of batteries being installed in the ever-growing global fleet of electric vehicles. The idea is that when they’re not on the road, utilities could use these batteries to store excess energy and draw from it when demand spikes.

While there have been some early pilots, so far it has been unclear whether the idea really has legs. Now, a new economic analysis led by researchers at Leiden University in the Netherlands suggests that electric vehicle batteries could play a major role in grid-scale storage in the relatively near future.

There are two main ways that these batteries could aid the renewables transition, according to the team’s study published in Nature Communications. Firstly, so-called vehicle-to-grid technology could make it possible to do smart vehicle charging, only charging cars when power demand is low. It could also make it possible for vehicle owners to temporarily store electricity for utilities for a price.

But old car batteries could also make a significant contribution. Their capacity declines over repeated charge and discharge cycles, and batteries typically become unsuitable for use in electric vehicles by the time they drop to 70 to 80 percent of their original capacity. That’s because they can no longer hold enough power to make up for their added weight. Weight isn’t a problem for grid-scale storage though, so these car batteries can be repurposed.

The researchers note that the lithium-ion batteries used in cars are probably only suitable for short-term storage of under four hours, but this accounts for most of the projected demand. So far though, there hasn’t been a comprehensive study of how large a contribution both current and retired electric vehicle batteries could play in the future of the grid.

To try and fill that gap, the researchers combined data on how many batteries are estimated to be produced over the coming years, how quickly batteries will degrade based on local conditions, and how electric vehicles are likely to be used in different countries—for instance, how many miles people drive in a day and how often they charge.

They found that the total available storage capacity from these two sources by 2050 was likely to be between 32 and 62 terawatt-hours. The authors note that this is significantly higher than the 3.4 to 19.2 terawatt-hours the world is predicted to need by 2050, according to the International Renewable Energy Agency and research group Storage Lab.


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