What is V2G?

Vehicle-to-grid (V2G) is a bidirectional charging technology that allows electric vehicles (EVs) to send power back to the grid.

Application of V2G

The primary role of V2G is to add electric vehicles (EVs) to the grid as distributed energy resources (DER)—especially useful when grids are experiencing peak utilization. 

V2G is still not widely adopted, and few EVs support it. Nevertheless, this is expected to be a particularly sought-after feature as mass EV adoption increases energy consumption. The use of V2G is also expected to find a place in the energy distribution mix as the world further shifts towards renewable energy sources.

In essence, this technology enables EV batteries to be used as energy storage units. storing sustainable energy in EV batteries for later use. 

Doing so achieves two main purposes—first, it solves one of the significant challenges facing intermittent renewable energy generation. Namely, what to do with excess energy and how to preserve it when intermittent sustainable energy sources (such as solar and wind power) are not producing electricity.

The second purpose of using EV batteries’ capacity is broader and not limited to sustainable energy. That is, EV batteries can be used to help meet peak energy demand and to provide electricity during power outages.

Essentially, V2G is a communication technology. It acts as a bridge between EVs and electric grids, allowing the two to communicate so the grid can draw power from EV batteries as needed. This communication is facilitated through compatible hardware and communication protocols such as OCPP, ISO 15118, and OpenADR (used in demand response programs).

Benefits of V2G

V2G benefits many stakeholders in the EV charging market. It is particularly useful to CPOs, EV owners, energy utilities, and businesses that operate large fleets and other charging use cases characterized by high energy demand fluctuations and peaks.

This technology offers CPOs an additional revenue stream by allowing them to optimize energy-use costs. Also, thanks to V2G, CPOs can have higher utilization of their charging infrastructure without needing to install higher-capacity charging stations, which could be a big investment. Instead, the EVs plugged into the charge points can charge or send energy back into the grid as needed.

Vehicle-to-grid systems benefit the entire electric grid by acting as a buffer for peak energy use. This can have multiple applications, such as “peak shaving,” where utilities use EV battery-stored energy to keep down or “shave” energy peaks.

There are also environmental benefits in that energy producers will have less need to rely on “peaker” energy sources such as those running on fossil fuels.

Practical Examples of V2G

Summers and winters are traditionally the seasons with the highest energy use because of cooling and heating, and energy demand can get especially high with extreme temperatures. With the help of V2G, EV batteries can be used to offload some of that extra demand exerted over the grid.

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