Vehicle to Grid (V2G) is a great concept. We could balance the increasing strains on the electricity network, not by building more expensive infrastructure, but by using the batteries that we already have in our electric vehicles (EVs). Only that might not make much sense, and there may be a much better solution available today.
The V2G model requires vehicles to load and unload at times convenient for the network: That is, lots of spare capacity during the day to absorb electricity from solar panels and then full batteries in the evening to discharge to the network to reduce demand.
The trouble is business, and occasional drivers don’t match this profile. Their vehicles are full and empty at the wrong times and it will require careful planning to contribute – not something we can expect from most drivers. In addition, the chargers are expensive, the billing complex and the alignment to network hotspots is difficult.
What really might kill off V2G is home battery storage, as we are really close to a 5-6 year payoff period. This does require some assumptions:
- An installed 20kWh battery needs to be around £6,000 – currently, a 13.5kWh battery costs about £6,500 but these costs have dropped 80% in the last 5 years, so this isn’t far away.
- The peak / off-peak variance needs to be 15p per kWh – at the moment it is closer to 10 -11p however, the combination of strong upward pressure on peak electricity costs and the impact of innovative time based off-peak charging means that 15p variance is closer than many think.
Once home batteries become financially attractive than their other 2 key properties really start to make an impact – their fixed location and when they run out of power, nothing stops.
As home batteries don’t move they can be relied upon to make consistent impacts on an electricity network, and with the right incentivisation, networks can be strengthened quickly and cheaply at specific risk areas.
When home batteries are drained, the normal network seamlessly takes over – no cars stop, no-one is stranded. This means that with smart responsive billing, a home battery can become an incredibly flexible resource at all hours of the day.
So what should we put our future bets on? The thing that no-one has quite worked out how to make happen, or the thing that we are all most probably going to buy anyway?
Article originally published by Ben Allan on 27/02/2019 via LinkedIn.