A consortium of partners led by Cisco has launched E-Flex, a London-based co-innovation project using active electric vehicles (EVs) in real-world fleets to prove the value of vehicle-to-grid (V2G) technology. The consortium brings together technology, energy, public sector and academic expertise from Cenex, Nuvve, the Greater London Authority, TFL, Imperial College London and E-Car Club.
According to its ‘Road to Zero’ industrial strategy paper, the Department of Transport has set a target for all new cars and vans to be effectively zero emission by 2040. Aligned with this strategy, E-Flex aims to demonstrate the role V2G can play in reducing the demand that mass adoption of EVs will put on energy networks, especially at peak times.
V2G technology will allow EV owners or fleets to put unused energy from their vehicles back into the grid, freeing it up for other needs and dramatically reducing the cost of owning and running the vehicle, while reducing the impact on the energy grid and wider environment. E-Flex will explore the potential economic benefits of V2G for commercial fleet owners, road users and policy makers.
To put the theory into practice, E-Flex is creating a real-world test environment for V2G, inviting fleet owners all over the UK to take part. With 200 electric vehicles being connected, participating fleets have the opportunity to:
• Test and improve EVs in a real-world environment, receiving a free 10kW bidirectional charger(s) and installation, with annual maintenance and 24/7 support included.
• Lower costs of running a zero-emissions fleet through energy savings and unlock new services and opportunities for customers.
• Become a greener brand and have a positive impact on the environment, monitoring savings through a fleet monitoring dashboard and application.
The successful completion of these trials aims to form the basis of a commercially viable strategy, which will deliver broader benefits such as:
• Greener cities with cleaner air with low-emissions vehicles becoming a more popular choice with road-users and transport fleets.
• More efficient energy use through releasing electricity back into the grid at peak usage times to manage strain placed on energy networks.
• Monetising electricity grids by managing consumption so EVs can “sell” energy back to the grid when it is in demand and “buy” it back when it is less expensive.
“The market opportunity for V2G is huge when you consider that the UK government has outlined that all new cars and vans should be effectively zero emission in little over 20 years’ time,” said Maria Hernandez, Head of Innovation, Cisco UK & Ireland. “E-Flex is about testing whether V2G provides a solution to the main challenge of making this a reality: developing an economically and environmentally viable business model for EVs.”