French energy supplier EDF is working with technology provider Nuvve to accelerate vehicle-to-grid (V2G) charging in France, the UK and other key markets.

 

Nuvve will bring to the table its expertise in V2G technologies, which EDF will offer to customers in its four main European markets that also include Italy and Belgium.

As outlined in its electric mobility plan EDF aims to be Europe’s leading electricity supplier for EVs by 2022, which includes rolling out charging network infrastructure, including smart charging technology. In the interim the energy firm wants to install operate 4000 smart charging points by 2020, leveraging Nuvve’s technology.

Nuvve is a vertically integrated player bringing to market V2G R&D and technology first developed in the mid-1990s at the University of Delaware. It is the only firm to have several commercial V2G networks under its belt, including on the US east and west coasts and Denmark.

According to Marc Trahand, Nuvve’s chief operations officer for Europe, the company’s V2G offering can provide as many as 12 different services, across a range of stakeholders, including the EV owner, the grid operator and regional utilities that distribute power.

Not all EVs are made with V2G capability. The Nissan Leaf is one, though a growing number of makes and models will have it. V2G also requires a bidirectional charger to import and export electricity to and from the battery.

Nuvve supplies V2G bidirectional chargers preconfigured to work with its grid integrated platform, known as GIVe. The technology is compatible with several charger makers in DC and AC mode.

A single 5kWh battery that charges and discharges based on supply-demand needs of the grid is not much use as a smart load, but a MWh-worth of them can help balance the grid and be paid for doing so. The company’s technology platform aggregates and manages them as a virtual power plant.

Credit: Cenex

Nuvve’s technology intelligently manages charging and discharging around the driving habits of individual drivers. It can differentiate between the batteries of various EV makes and models and their batteries and is able to delay charge and control rate of charge.

The platform is flexible enough to be deployed in different electricity systems, from the various regulated markets in the US, to Japan, and respond to various grid events, including high energy consumption alerts from grid operators.

In addition to expanding its footprint in the UK and the European mainland, Nuvve is pushing into new markets worldwide, including southern Africa and south-east Asia. In the Philippines there are lots of small microgrids, which V2G chargers can be integrated with. Nuvve’s technology enables batteries in parked EVs to provide important localised services such as black-start for buildings that have lost power, for example.

Grid support

As energy and transport networks decarbonise, EVs should be treated as smart loads so that the time at which they draw from the grid is shifted outside peak demand hours on the network, usually 4-7pm in the UK. This can be done via smart charging.

V2G goes further, creating value from a parked car’s batteries, just like a stationary energy storage device. Electricity is injected into energy into the battery when there is too much generation on the grid and is drawn from the battery when demand is high, helping balance the system. Grid operators pay for grid balancing services, which are becoming more important as intermittent inflexible wind and solar generation continues to be connected.

Nuvve and its technology offers energy suppliers a means to exploit available flexible capacity on the demand side, as an alternative to making big investments in new generation capacity.

In the UK smaller, agile energy suppliers with a focus on services and giving consumers better deals and tariffs are eroding incumbents’ market share. Octopus Energy, for example, offers a time of use tariff incentivising EV owners to charge at off-peak hours. Another, OVO Energy, provides EV tariff bundles and is commercialising its own V2G charger.

Big energy suppliers, like EDF, have millions of customers across Europe. Those buying EVs will need more electricity to charge up their cars. New market research by Aurora, sponsored by Eaton, Natwest and Lombard, is predicting 17 million EVs in Great Britain by 2040. For EDF, working with a firm like Nuvve is about gaining competitive edge, retaining and winning new customers in what has become a fast-moving market. If the partnership pays off a joint venture is in the offing.