V2G Could Boost Return on Investment for Commercial Electric Trucks

4 years ago by Eric Loveday 6

Newton truck

Newton truck

Bryan Hansel, CEO of Smith Electric Vehicle, says vehicle-to-grid (V2G) technology could be hugely beneficial to commercial fleet operators.  As Hansel explains:

Newton Step Van

Newton Step Van

“This technology potentially creates another revenue stream for all-electric trucks, which would significantly improve their update ROI [return on investment].  This could change the face of the medium-duty potential for all-electric trucks because any fleet – not just the military’s – could attach such revenue to their bottom line.”

Hansel made that comment to Fleet Owner shortly after the US Department of Defense announced plans to V2G several of its electric vehicles at bases located throughout the US.

Camron Gorguinpour, special assistant to the assistant secretary of the Air Force for installations, environment and logistics, told Fleet Owner:

“It’s about being able to deliver electricity on demand. It will be a sizable amount of power when all of the vehicles are aggregated together.  The three main criteria we’re focused on are reducing fleet expense, enhancing mission capabilities and meeting our energy efficiency goals [and what] we have identified is a path forward that will allow us to bring electric vehicles into our fleet that are less costly than conventional vehicles.”

Moving our attention back to Smith Electric Vehicle, Hansel notes that its medium-duty Newton trucks are expected to soon be fitted with optional equipment that allows for the bi-directional flow of electricity, which is necessary for V2G technology.  As Hansel explains:

“Typically, all-electric trucks feature a ‘unidirectional’ battery system, so energy can only flow one way — to recharge their batteries.  A bidirectional system allows the batteries to recharge and to discharge energy to the electrical grid to which they are plugged into.”

And when we’re talking big commercial electric trucks, there’s a lot of power to be sold.  Hansel says this in relation to this:

 “Just 10 or our trucks combined can offer one megawatt of power – that’s a lot.  And ‘stabilizing’ energy levels doesn’t require much power. This isn’t a case where the truck batteries would be drained; on the contrary, under the terms of such agreements, whatever power is used must be replaced, so the vehicles would be at full-charge when their duty cycle begins.”

But pitching V2G as a money-maker for fleets will be where the difficulty lies.  There will be additional upfront costs, but the payback is well worth it.  So, it’s simply a matter of convincing fleet operators that there’s money to be made.  Shouldn’t be too hard, right?

Source: Fleet Owner

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6 responses to "V2G Could Boost Return on Investment for Commercial Electric Trucks"

  1. Rick Danger says:

    Aren’t these trucks moving during the day? And when they have to stop to recharge, don’t they need to get it over with as fast as possible and get back to work?

    So when do they have time to stay plugged into the grid for hours during the daytime?

  2. Bill Howland says:

    Another Pipe dream… If these batteries can supply 100 kilowatts for any lenth of time, I want the batteries installed in my BEV to reduce range anxiety.

    1. Josh says:

      A LEAF battery supplies 80 kW and a Model S battery supplies up to 310 kW. I don’t see each truck supplying 100 kW as a big deal. You could replace his 10 truck statement with 12.5 LEAFs.

      In frequency regulation (the only currently finically viable market for energy storage), the technical requirement is to provide short bursts of power onto and off of the grid the maintain the 60 Hz. I think what they are talking about is reasonable, but it does not just apply to trucks. A fleet of Model S would perform even better if they added V2G.

  3. Bonaire says:

    Peak demand on the grid a usually 6-9pm. After a delivery run in the morning, maybe they charge up and then can operate V2G later on. Another valuable thing enhanced charging would be to slow up the charge when the grid fluctuates voltage or frequency lower, signaling heavier local loads. The charger could back off the draw if it is doing an overnight charge and set to allow that to happen. Would work best during mid day charging and reacting to grid signals.

  4. mopper says:

    They forgot to mention the fact that the additional charging and discharging will also make the battery age faster … will the money earned by V2G tech even offset the cost of accelerated battery deterioriation?

    1. Bonaire says:

      The batteries in the Smith vehicles are A123 nanophosphate LiFEPO4 cells. Much higher cycles available than standard Li-Poly or “LiPO” batteries. A123 (now called B456) has done 8000 cycles on their cells with about 80% life left in them.