When the cold Armageddon rolled over the USA and Canada a few weeks ago, some people were cut off from the outside world. If the power goes out, the apocalypse is complete. Not if you own a Ford F150 Lightning. 44 hours without electricity! This baby saved us," wrote one Ottawa man on Reddit. What happened? When the snow blizzard cut the lines, the Canadian simply uses the battery in his electric pickup to power his home. Starting from the vehicle's power outlet, he ran wires into his house to power the lights, WiFi, several refrigerators, and the television. When the spook was over after 44 hours, the Ford's energy storage still had 65 percent of its capacity.
Vehicle-to-load capability, where an electric vehicle plugged into a wall outlet acts as a power supplier for home appliances, is the simplest part of the bi-directional charging (V2X, (vehicle-to-everything) charging that it will be in the future in every electric car. The other two disciplines are Vehicle-to-Home (V2H, i.e. for a whole house) and above all Vehicle-to-Grid (V2G, from vehicle to grid).The fact that a car is part of the intelligent power grid is the supreme discipline and an essential part of electromobility.
Once the car is V2G-capable, you can then charge when electricity is cheap and make your battery available to earn money with electricity or to stabilize the power grid if necessary. Almost every car manufacturer is working on bidirectional charging. Hyundai has already installed V2L on the Ioniq 5, and V2G will follow soon. Probably the Ionig 6. Renault and alliance partner Nissan are on the road with test fleets of V2G vehicles. The French have been simulating an intelligent power grid with all the trimmings on the Portuguese island of Porto Santo for some time. – including V2G.
For this vision to become reality in a few years, a lot still has to happen in terms of software and hardware. Renault is currently developing a V2G-capable bidirectional 22 kW charger together with the French Commissariat for Atomic Energy and Alternative Energies (CEA), which should reduce energy losses during charging by 30 percent and at the same time improve battery life. This is about the primary concern of electric vehicle drivers - namely the aging of the battery with repeated charging and discharging. The technicians also take care of this phenomenon.
It all sounds wonderful. But the number of electric cars, which will increase rapidly by the end of the decade, will also demand a lot from the power grids. The renowned Stanford University from the electromobility heartland of California has dealt with the future of charging electromobility. According to this, the e-mobile drivers have to say goodbye to plugging in in the evening and driving off fully charged in the morning, since night charging puts extreme stress on the power grid. By the middle of the next decade, the thirst for energy when charging with electricity at night will increase by 25 percent in the western United States. The local power grid could then become unstable if a third of the households in an area own electric vehicles and most owners continue to charge after 11 p.m., because electricity prices are particularly cheap then.
"Our research shows that in the western US, less electricity generation capacity and storage is needed and less solar and wind energy is wasted with less charging at home and more charging during the day," says Siobhan Powell, one of the lead authors of the study. Once 50 percent electrified If you stick to your current charging habits, more than 5.4 gigawatts of energy storage are needed. That corresponds to the capacity of five large nuclear reactors. If you charge at work instead of at home, the storage requirement drops to 4.2 gigawatts. " We encourage decision makers to install tariffs that encourage charging during the day and incentivize investment in charging infrastructure so owners can charge their car while they work," said study co-author Ram Rajagopal.
The study posits that California has a surplus of electricity in the late morning and early morning hours due to solar energy that is wasted or sent to expensive storage and it would be more efficient to use it for charging. It remains to be seen to what extent this applies to Central Europe, where the climate and home ownership structure are different. However, this phenomenon could also occur with the accelerated expansion of renewable energies. Either way, vehicle-to-grid will be essential to stabilize the power grid.