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Consumers could save £300 using V2G, but roadblocks remain

Testing house

Image: Good Energy.

UK households could save up to £300 a year using vehicle to grid (V2G) technology, according to a new report.

However numerous barriers will need to be surpassed if the nascent technology is to reach its full potential.

The report was produced as part of the HAVEN project (Home as a Virtual Energy Network), which is a collaboration between The University of Salford, Good Energy, Upside Energy and Honda Motor Europe.

However, the report found that there are a number of roadblocks, including high technology costs. Policy incentives are required to help bring prices down and enable more households to participate, the report continues.

Scale is also needed. V2G could help to balance the grid, absorbing excess power and reducing stress on the network, but only if there are a significant number of EVs connected in a localised area.

Additional revenue for consumers currently could only be modest depending on the consumer’s system, because the EV is often absent from the home. The report suggested that maximising self-consumption of PV by adding a V2G-enabled electric vehicle could add additional revenue of ~£70. As such, until hardware costs reduce, the investment case may be challenging.

However, if the household was operating what the report refers to as a “full energy network” this increases to ~£300.

With these challenges in mind, the report suggests that car parks with multiple connected vehicles could be the place to start. This would reduce hardware costs and ensure that multiple vehicles could be relied on.

The CEO and founder of Good Energy Juliet Davenport said that a “distributive ‘whole systems’ approach” is needed to tackle the climate emergency.

“That is why vehicle to grid is so exciting — it is the missing link between electrification of transport and decarbonisation of our grid and our homes. V2G is where solar power was 10 years ago – the technology exists but it requires innovation, investment and joined up thinking.

“With the right policy support it could become another clean technology British success story.”

The research was conducted through a dual approach, with real-world asset assessments taking place at Salford Energy House, a two-story Victorian terrace house within an environmental chamber. This allowed researchers to simulate real world conditions, by changing the temperature between -10C and 30C as well as making it rain, snow or shine.

Professor Will Swan, who leads the Applied Buildings and Energy Research Group at the University of Salford’s Energy House, said: “The unique Energy House test facility allowed us to demonstrate how a system like this would cope under various real-life conditions to the scale of a traditional British home.

“With global renewable energy supplies set to double in the next five years, we really believe that this has given us an insight into how our communities could use energy in the future and we now need to understand what these types of systems will mean for consumers.”

In-depth independent modelling was also undertaken by Upside Energy and Good Energy. This looked at the supplier benefits of V2G, including optimising day-ahead market prices and use-of-system revenues. They concluded that an additional revenue of ~£100 could be generated through adding V2G to a home energy network.

This is compared to a charged-when-plugged-in base case. A total additional revenue of ~£500, was available from optimising an energy network consisting of: home battery, smart hot water tank, PV system and V2G-enabled EV.

Government has a clear role in the support of V2G units the report concluded, without which the technology will struggle to go from prototype to reality.

A number of companies are already looking into the technology, including Nissan and EDF penning European V2G EV charging partnership in September that will see the former sell V2G compatible cars.

Elsewhere, E-Flex has expanded its V2G project to Plymouth, after a successful trial in London. EVBox has opened its renovated factory, which will now target V2G tech development, in an effort to get a strong footing in this young market.


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