OVO Energy has launched a suite of “revolutionary” products under its proprietary digital intelligence platform, including what has been called the world’s first widely available domestic vehicle to grid (V2G) charger.
In addition to the 6kW bi-directional charger, which will allow drivers to sell surplus energy from their electric vehicle batteries back to the electricity grid, the company also revealed its 7kW Smart Charger as well as its debut Home Energy Storage solution, offering continuous output of 5kW and a power peak of 10kW.
Unveiling the new solutions at a launch event held at London’s Truman Brewery, OVO’s chief executive and founder Stephen Fitzpatrick also launched VCharge, the company’s intelligence platform designed to bring together the flexible capacity of the company’s new devices as well as all accessible energy resources.
“This is the first step in building the distributed energy system of the future. One that is truly customer centric and built around households and their connected energy storage devices,” he said.
“Our completely new approach to energy has been made possible by the convergence of emerging technologies, applying intelligence, and years of working with customers to redesign the entire energy system.”
A world first for OVO
The V2G charger offers a 6kW charge and discharge rate and will use VCharge’s artificial intelligence to optimise vehicle charging in line with cheaper electricity out of peak times when more renewables are on the grid.
By selling this back into the grid, OVO claims drivers “may never have to pay to be on the road again”.
The chargers are to be made available to 1,000 Nissan LEAF drivers under a two-year trial which was recently granted over £3 million in funding from the Office for Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV) and the UK Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) through a £30 million competition administered by Innovate UK to support V2G trials across the country.
The Sciurus project will utilise VCharge to provide electrical support to grid operators during peak energy demand times, exploring and testing commercial propositions to identify a viable long-term business model.
OVO expects drivers to be able to save more than £250 per year through its V2G technology.
Consumer behaviour and receptiveness will be also be measured by Sciurus to provide insights into EV owners' attitudes and their response to V2G products and services, however Fitzpatrick added that the platform would be able to overcome any inertia in consumer behaviour which has often caused demand side management to stall.
“VCharge learns, adapts, optimises and detects using advanced machine learning to recognise patterns of individual consumer behaviour and characteristics of individual assets and homes. It uses these insights to build a predictive energy demand model, calculating reserve power and available storage capacity in individual homes all the way up to a national level,” he said.
The units will be manufactured in the UK by Indra Renewable Technologies, in which OVO acquired a majority stake last year, as will as the company’s new Smart Chargers.
These 7kW AC chargers - coming in at 3.5kg compared to the V2G charger’s 17kg – will be commercially available, with OVO announcing price points later this year. Rather than discharging to the grid, these chargers will allow EVs to be controlled and charged during off-peak periods, easing pressure on the grid while taking advantage of cheaper power prices.
“We’re enabling thousands of EV batteries to help balance the grid in times of peak demand, more renewable energy to come onto the system, and households to reduce their electricity bills,” Fitzpatrick added.
In addition, the company also announced its entrance into the home storage market with its battery solution – to be trialled later this year - completing its new intelligent range of devices to be brought under and controlled by the VCharge platform.
Turning the home into “an independent energy ecosystem”
During this morning’s presentation, Fitzpatrick went on explain how all of OVO’s new products, intelligence platform and multiple other connected devices will be able to transform the way the homes interact with the national energy systems.
“By combining rooftop solar, control of connected devices and intelligent use of EVs and stationary batteries, we can transform the home from being a passive recipient of power at the edge of the grid to an independent energy ecosystem.
“We're not talking about going off grid or becoming an energy island, but home forming part of the distributed dynamic energy network, meshing together to completely change the demand side of the electricity equation,” he said.