Vehicle to Grid Technologies to See Significant Growth Over Next Decade

4 years ago by Surdas Mohit 24

EVI Vehicle Set Up With V2G

EVI Vehicle Set Up With V2G

The idea that vehicle-to-grid technologies (V2G) can play an important role in balancing the power grid has been bandied about for decades. Yet today, worldwide V2G capacity stands at less than 9 MW.

Not very impressive.

A row of Mini-E's providing balancing services for the grid

A row of Mini-E’s providing balancing services for the grid

A new report by Navigant Research projects that the V2G market will grow from less than $900,000 annually to $190 million by 2022. How?  Scott Shepard, research analyst with Navigant Research, explains it like this:

“Business models for V2G technologies are starting to emerge in select markets around the world. Large corporations and government agencies, such as the U.S. Department of Defense, are driving V2G development and laying the foundation for individually owned electric vehicles to participate in grid services in the second half of this decade.”

The idea is that it would be worthwhile for utilities to pay owners of electric vehicles (or whole fleets) for the use of their batteries in order to maintain grid stability. The technologies to do this exist and are improving steadily.

A bigger challenge comes from the structure of electricity markets. Many electricity markets around the world are highly regulated and/or vertically integrated, which can prove less hospitable to such innovative mechanisms. De-regulated, de-centralized electricity markets – such as that of the United States – offer more attractive potential test beds.

Navigant’s results suggest that once V2G starts to be implemented on a large-scale in a few markets, others will follow.

Source: Navigant Research

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24 responses to "Vehicle to Grid Technologies to See Significant Growth Over Next Decade"

  1. io says:

    “Business models for V2G technologies are starting to emerge”
    “The technologies to do this exist and are improving steadily”…

    The “2nd half of this decade” starts in just over a year. If there is allegedly so much activity or potential in this field, can we please get less marketing-speak and more concrete data now? Numbers like payback time, names of actual companies, places, vehicles… anything?

  2. Spec9 says:

    They should get the technology working but just focus on frequency regulation for now. People are not going to want substantial amounts of power drawn from their vehicle but short little bursts won’t be a big deal and can really help the grid.

    1. Mark H says:

      I agree. I currently would not use my battery for such a purpose and as this will not make a difference until EVs are in the millions on the US roads. By then the batteries hopefully have improved. You do have to have the technology ready and working to handle 5-10 million which is why I optimistically see this as part of a future reality. Want that be good times when 5-10 million EVs are on our roads. Probably 10-20 years out though our first million is most likely within 5 years. Meanwhile, I just wait for the monthly Cole report.

    2. Koz says:

      Substantial power draw is of little concern. The car’s onboard power electronics eliminate this as an issue. You probably meant substantial energy draw not power. This would be a concern but is not what any serious V2G proponents espouse. That is not where the advantages are for V2G but regulations and controls need to be in place to protect the vehicle owner from mistakes or unscrupulous grid operators.

  3. Suprise Cat says:

    This is yet another bubble. People will not plug-in just to let other companies suck their batteries to death, taking the profit and making everything more expensive.

    1. Koz says:

      That is not what V2G is about. This is the fearmongerers battle cry.

  4. scott moore says:

    There is over 100 GW (as in 1000 MW) in worldwide capacity with PSH (Pumped-storage hydroelectricity), see:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pumped-storage_hydroelectricity

    This is both the cheapest method to store excess power, as well as the biggest current provider of it. %25 percent of the total USA capacity is in California, 2.6GW with another 6.3GW in the permit process.

    I’m guessing that hooking all the electric cars up to the grid full time won’t come near that, even with a cost orders of magnitude higher.

    1. Andrew says:

      No need to guess: 100 million light vehicles in the US with 30kW powertrains = 3,000GW. What’s the cost of a battery already paid for transport.

      1. scott moore says:

        If every car in the US were electric, and every car is plugged in when you need the power.

        1. Koz says:

          Yes and no. There are more than 250M in the light duty US fleet. Full electrics are capable of at least 80KW each (at least from the battery and power electronics), 110kW for the Volt and 230kW for the base Volt. Wouldn’t want to sustain those rates for more than 20 seconds but seconds mean a lot in stabilizing the grid. All are not plugged in at all times.

      2. Bonaire says:

        That assumes all cars are plugged in simultaneously and would dump their charge in one hour and that they have 30kWh at the ready. Assume 1/20th of that number and it is a start. Plus, no EVs on the road now are ready for V2G right now. And they will implement it as a user option. Not all vehicles are plugged in while at workplaces when the peak demand may be. And when they return home in the evening at the time of peak demand, such as 6-9pm, they will be moderately to completely depleted.

        I doubt V2G will be very widespread for commuter cars. Trucks, maybe.

  5. pjwood says:

    Where it works for everyone, is avoiding demand-charges, which affect all kWh’s billed. If the draw rate is capped, you could end up with two options. One that “sucks”, and one that doesn’t. At some spread, they will find volunteers.

  6. qwerty says:

    Sucking the juice out of my battery means another cycle taken from it’s life. Then I’d have to charge it again.

    NO THANKS!!!

    This idea is dead before it gets on the ground to run.

    1. Koz says:

      That is not what V2G is about. This is the fearmongerers battle cry.

      1. Sevie says:

        Retired batteries are on the way. Every year there will be more EV cars with batteries that are over 5 years/1000+ charge-discharge cycles and in consideration of retirement. The aftermarket for used EV batteries is in its infancy but the utilities, or more likely the entrepreneurs out there, will repurpose them for shifting the nightly overproduction to cover the afternoon grid strain.

  7. scott moore says:

    Anybody get a vague recollection of the “matrix” when thinking about this? (“this is how humans turned into batteries…”). Substitute the power companies for the machines that run the matrix…

  8. Bill Howland says:

    @Scott Moore and others:

    I’m glad several people on these blogs are not buying this crap. These blogs keep churning out these “High Sounding” articles and are very generalized so that the real reason for them is not ever mentioned since it has more to do with surveilance than anything the homeowner wants.. They claim frequency regulation can be solved with this,(not a problem since this is solved without EV’s) , and then some say demand limiting is performed, but time of day metering solved that problem 70 years ago. L3 chargers without solar panels cause demand fine problems, but then thats why we don’t have any in NY State, to use the invogue phrase, they
    are horribly “Unsustainable”, more to the point, only Tesla has supposedly found a business model that works. Whether this is temporary or permanent remains to be seen.

    Everyone will of course, use V2G as the excuse for Smart Meters, which Customers don’t want. Of course, Naperville, Illinois customers were ARRESTED if they objected. So much for Implied Consent. Since more and more bloggers are sensing the ulterior motives here, these Research Groups can generate meaningless jobs showing how v2g is the wave of the future, but seeing as awareness is increasing faster than these forums can churn out ‘feel good’, very generalized articles, I wouldn’t bet any money on it.

  9. Dan Frederiksen says:

    I don’t see it happening. Maybe for house backup power and camping. but not to power the grid. Who’d want an expensive option such that the power company can cycle your battery all day..
    There is no need nor incentive. Never mind the standard needed. Not gonna happen.

    House backup might be cool if you live in a region prone to power outages.

  10. Jouni Valkonen says:

    Today EV batteries are quite expensive. Tesla battery costs some $40k. Therefore the price w2g electricity is some 300–600 dollars per MWh + prematurely shortened EV range. I would not say that this is not feasible idea if the purpose is not to exploit Tesla’s eight year battery warranty.

    Specialized grid storage batteries are ALWAYS cheaper than EV batteries.

    1. Jouni Valkonen says:

      However if there is a grid instability issue, then the spot price of electricity my get as high as 2000 euros per MWh. If EV owner sells electricity to grid, then he can make up to 100 euros cash in two hours. This may be worth it. The only problem is that grid instability issues happens only few times per year, so this probably does not justify the v2g system cost.

      1. Koz says:

        The utes pay a LOT of $ to have the capabilty. Use is another revenue stream but “spinning” reserves is something else.

  11. Koz says:

    Let’s start with V2H and that lays the groundwork for V2G. GM and Tesla and most other plug-in offerers are asleep at the wheel on this. Especially frustrating because they espouse the benefits of pairing with home solar. Grid tied solar + V2G means steady power through all events but very little added cost and very little added net kWH through the vehicle battery. V2H + Volt = whole house generator for small cost and net very little added kWh through the battery. This is a value add of $7-12k for plug-ins. What is the downside?

    1. Bill Howland says:

      Downside is the Smart Meter which is necessary to implement v2g. Customers are not accepting that their dishwasher and refrigerator need to be monitoring them (As General David Petraeus admitted to Wired Magazine).
      EV’s, by their HOME recharging, help the “Grid” already, by using their electricity after midnight.

      The biggest NEW user of electricity has been historically Frost-Free Refrigerators back in the 1960’s and 1970’s. But, usage has leveled off, and since we survived those decades back then, there is no legitimate reason for it, unless you’re talking about NYC’s mess.

      The case can be made for NYC only, but then, there really isn’t enough stored power in many, many EV’s to run Air conditioners for the hours required on the hottest day in August. (And that’s just it: there’s only a problem at MOST in 1 or 2 cities, for a few days out of the year, and this is in basket case locales in any event. The other 360 days its simply not an issue). The plants in my area are running at 10 and 14 % utilization and will probably be shuttered due to lack of customers.

      And the “Frequency Regulation” , or “Light Dimming” problems that people claim v2g would be good for, and only use a few seconds of juice, are laughably mistaken since they have no idea how the Utility business works in the US anyway.. Fines are not based on transient events, period. Therefore, there is no money in it for anyone to waste their time implementing it, except of course as a gov’t program to surruptitiously have a good reason for Smart Meters. My own utility Desperately wants to put in Smart Meters, since they will be able to increase profit margins, and also, the federal gov’t will pay for 50% of the cost of the program. They are appealing to the State Public Service Commission to INcrease the rates to have the ratepayers pay the additional capital cost. From then on, operating rates will increase to maintain it. They specifically state BETTER SERVICE will NOT result from the implementation of the program.

      So why should anyone in their right mind want it.?

      V2H on the other hand, might be useful for camping, seeing as you don’t have to cart along a separate Generator to run the coffee pot. The mitsubishi outlander is supposedly going to have a 1500 watt outlet for that sort of thing.

  12. scott moore says:

    So if I understand the issues as presented here correctly, this is presented more as:

    1. A short term power variation smoother.

    2. A long term solution to intermittent power generation models (wind/solar) after the “fleet” gets deeply converted to EV.

    So as Nixon said, let me say this about that:

    1. The idea that the power company needs our cars to smooth out short drops and regulate frequency is, frankly, a bit scary. Are they really that close to loosing control of the grid????

    2. Since getting EVs to REALLY deliver clean energy (as in the source is clean as well) has got to proceed at the same pace or faster than EV adoption, I think you have the carts running in front of the horses. Again I think PSH (stored hydro) makes way more sense for this use, and is in fact already the most popular system in use. It is taking off in California, and we can already park 2.6GW of intermittent power generation, with 6.3GW in the process of construction. The current total renewables generation here in California is just over 4GW. Further, PSH has no inherent limits, it does not even need a natural water source. It can be parked in the middle of the desert. It also dovetails with water management that we need to do anyways.

    Finally, there is factor X: My long term plan is to tell PG&E to take a hike and go solar. My long term plans would not include selling them my garbage, much less access to my car.