Nissan and Enel launch revolutionary vehicle-to-grid EV project in UK

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Nissan and multinational power company Enel have confirmed plans to launch the UK’s first major vehicle-to-grid (V2G) trial, which will allow electric vehicle (EV) owners to sell electricity from their car or van back to the grid.

The trial will work by installing and connecting 100 V2G units at locations agreed by private and fleet owners of the Nissan LEAF and e-NV200 electric van. Nissan EV owners will then have the ability to plug their vehicles into the V2G system and sell stored energy from their vehicle’s battery back to the National Grid. The announcement heralds an exciting era for energy management in the UK, as not only will EV owners be able to play an active role in grid stability, providing an alternate source of income, but it will revolutionize how energy is supplied to the grid. Once scaled up, the V2G technology can become a game-changer for owners of Nissan EVs in the UK as they become fully fledged and active participants in the UK energy market.

The project is part of Enel and Nissan’s commitment to supporting the entire EV ecosystem, going beyond the car itself and delivering new services to the energy industry. There will be an increasing number of EVs on the roads across Europe in the future, and it is vital that V2G technology is rolled out to ensure the grid can satisfy the demands made upon it for increased energy. Currently, if all 18,000 Nissan EVs in the UK were connected to the energy network, they would generate the equivalent output of a 180MW power plant. If that was scaled up in a future where all the vehicles on UK roads are electric, V2G technology could generate a virtual power plant of up to 370GW – enough energy capacity to power the UK, Germany and France. The system allows Nissan EV owners to connect to the grid to charge at low-demand, cheap tariff periods, with an option to then use the electricity stored in the vehicle’s battery at home and work when costs are higher, or even feed back to the grid, generating additional revenue for them.

“Today’s landmark trial in the UK is a significant step forward in renewable energy management, helping shape the future of industries, cities and societies,” explained Paul Willcox, chairman of Nissan Europe. “Smart energy management is one of the biggest challenges any nation faces for the future, which is why this trial is so critical in assessing the feasibility of using variable, more flexible energy sources.

“We see our electric vehicles as being the mobile energy hubs of the future, pioneering a self-sustaining energy infrastructure that will help solve the capacity issues of the future. This is the first time this has ever been done in the UK, and by enabling customers to sell energy back to the grid, we’re providing a financial incentive to choose the sustainable option.”

Steven Holliday, non-executive director of the UK’s National Grid, said, “We are constantly looking to the future to ensure we have the capacity to meet national energy demand; it’s our job to future proof the national transmission network. The rapid uptake of electric vehicles is certainly positive, yet could also be challenging if we don’t plan ahead to understand precisely what effect this new technology will have on the electricity system.

“Our Future Energy team predicts that there could be up to 700,000 electric vehicles in 2020, requiring an extra 500MW of energy. That’s why we support innovative technologies and pioneering projects such as this one that have the potential to make a real difference to the way we manage energy supply and demand.”

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Tom has edited Traffic Technology International magazine and the Traffic Technology Today website since he joined the company in May 2014. Prior to this he worked on some of the UK's leading consumer magazine titles including Men's Health and Glamour, beginning his career in journalism in 1997 after graduating with a law degree from the London School of Economics (LSE).

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