Kia Motors announced on June 2nd that it is partnering with the Advanced Power and Energy Program (APEP) at the University of California, Irvine (UCI) to help develop and demonstrate Vehicle-to-Grid (V2G) advanced smart charging software algorithms. Kia will provide six Soul EVs with the shared goal of creating software algorithms for use in coordinating the charging of plug-in electric vehicles to support grid resource operation. Vehicle-to-grid defines a system which enables battery electric vehicles (BEV) and plug-in hybrids (PHEV) to communicate with the power grid for bi-directional power flow while being grid-connected. This enables the vehicles to serve as energy storage to help manage energy demand. The Kia pilot joins several others worldwide. One launched in San Francisco in December by Pacific Gas & Electric Co. pays drivers of BMW electric cars to delay charging their vehicles when the power grid is under pressure. One hundred owners of BMW AG’s i3 hatchback received $1,000 upfront to participate. Renewable Energy World quoted one participant’s description:
“My understanding is that we’ll get a text message that says ‘Hey, you’re charging your car right now, can you back off for an hour? This is the wave of the future. We can’t continue to be dependent on gas and oil and coal for our energy use. I’m really curious as to how this is all going to unfold.”
Another BMW pilot at the University of Delaware involves power company NRG and the PJM interconnection, and is focused on the details of what happens when EV owners sell power from their batteries back to the grid. Owners are getting regular checks, for an average of $900/year.
NRG EVgo is running two pilots at University of California at San Diego: Technavio estimates that the market for the drive systems, software and communication systems, and equipment that will form the core of V2G activity will grow at a CAGR of 33% through 2020, when it will reach $7.5 billion Nissan has multiple V2G pilots operating in Europe, including one of a domestic storage system it plans to take to market in the UK this fall. The company is taking pre-orders now for the $4,322 system, and plans to sell 100,000 of them throughout Europe over the next five years. The company sees vehicle-to-grid (or microgrids) as part of an urban future that runs on fleets of its Leaf PHEVs, in a video that looks straight out of A.I.: Artificial Intelligence, if that world had more occasional sunlight: