Bidirectional EV charging projects receive funding boost

Four projects have received a share of £4.8 million of government funding to support their work testing and implementing new charging technologies, which mean families could use their electric vehicle batteries to power their homes and save on bills.

Bi-directional charging, in which electric vehicles become the source of the electricity rather than the recipient, has long been touted as a concept with potential and now it appears the government are keen that this potential is explored more thoroughly.

Announcing the funding, the Minister for Affordability and Skills Amanda Solloway said: ‘The prospect of families being able to store energy on their doorstep in electric vehicles and use it to power their homes is incredibly exciting. This is exactly the sort of ingenuity and creativity that makes the UK one of the world’s most innovative nations.

‘By backing this technology, we could save families hundreds of pounds a year, while also supporting jobs, investment and growth.’

The principle behind bidirectional charging is that the vehicle is charged when electricity costs are lowest and called upon at a later time when prices are highe.

The government believe that families could save hundreds of pounds on energy bills this way, using the stored electricity to power home appliances such as fridges and washing machines.

Households could power their home appliances as a result of the development of bidirectional charging, which enables electricity stored in a vehicle’s battery to flow back into the grid or back into the home and workplaces, which can then be used to power other devices.

Businesses could also benefit from the such technology, by storing electricity in their fleets of EVs and using it to power their operations at a later date. These technologies will also help make it even easier to rely on renewable technologies such as solar panels, with less need for fossil fuels to provide for surges in demand by allowing stored renewable energy to be sold into the grid instead.

The projects awarded funding are:

3ti Energy Hubs in Leatherhead – will combine a quick-to-deploy bidirectional charging hub with a solar canopy and energy storage battery, house in recycled shipping containers, which can make access to bidirectional charging available in more destinations, including vehicle depots. (see image)

Hangar19 in Chelmsford – will demonstrate a 3-socket bidirectional charger, making a wider range of EVs available for energy flexibility and bidirectional charging

Otaski Energy Solutions  in Gateshead – will trial their bidirectional EVcharger to enable fleet EV operators to access energy in a flexible way which could deliver savings in line with electricity supply and demand surges

Electric Green in London – will work with QEnergy to trial wireless V2X technology with a fleet of 20 delivery vehicles at Royal Mail

Mark Potter, CTO at 3ti, said: ‘Everybody wants more EVs on the grid. They represent a massive scale, distributed energy resource that can be used to balance real-time supply and demand. This project will prove that bi-directional EV charging can work in the real world. Connected EVs will be teamed together to act as virtual power and energy storage facilities, with each car releasing and replenishing its stored energy according to user preferences and grid demand. This generates income and cost savings, which can be passed on to our customers.’




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