‘Vehicle to grid’ balancing can save EV drivers money but costs must fall, study finds

Customers could earn up to £725 per year from exchanging power between their electric vehicle and the electricity grid, a new study has found. But to make the option attractive to customers the cost of hardware has to fall further than it has.
Four UK businesses partnered in Project Sciurus, funded by BEIS and OZEV, said to be the world’s largest ‘vehicle to grid’ (V2G) trial, found that customers using the technology saved £340, compared with £120 using one-way smart charging. But using the V2G chargers to provide grid services via Kaluza’s smart platform vehicle owners could save more. The total was £513 when participating in Firm Frequency Response and £725 when participating in Dynamic Containment.
The trial alleviated the vast majority of participants’ concerns regarding V2G technology including: battery degradation, reliability and costs; and participants reported that it was important to them that their next EV had V2G capability, demonstrating that customers are ready for a V2G proposition.
However the Covid lockdown increased the time people had their cars plugged in – up from 57% to 70%. Non-V2G plug-in availability was 30-40%.
By the end of the trial, the V2G hardware and installation cost was around £3,700 higher than that of a smart chargepoint. This would have to fall to £1,000 – via mass production – to reduce the payback period comfortably be below five years on tariff optimisation alone.
The “Project Sciurus Trial Insights: Findings from 300 Domestic V2G Units in 2020″ report is released today by Cenex at the conclusion of the three-year project, which was based on 320 V2G units installed, with 141 participant survey responses. The partners were project lead OVO Energy, alongside Cenex, Kaluza, Indra and Nissan. The report analysed the plug-in behaviour of customers in the Sciurus trial over twelve months, between January 2020 and December 2020.
Chris Russell, managing director OVO Drive, OVO Energy, said:” We hope this trial acts as a blueprint for wider adoption to ensure we collectively unlock the huge environmental opportunity that electric vehicles offer.”
Conor Maher-McWilliams, Head of Flexibility at Kaluza, said: “The trial has provided some of the earliest insights into how the technology works in the real world and what is needed for it to be rolled out at scale. The V2G opportunity is a hugely exciting one which we are actively exploring here in the UK and internationally.”
Read the full report here

Further reading
Competition watchdog plans ‘package of measures’ in summer to address concerns on street and motorway EV charging, but decides against market investigation
Pivot Power’s Oxford EV hub, opening in Q4, will have 48 fast charging points from Fastned, Wenea and Tesla
Flexibility in Great Britain: what are the opportunities? Fast actors can gain most in the honeymoon period and district heat offers ‘a lot of value’

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