INEES Project: V2G Reduces Power Fluctuations, But Is Not Economically Viable

JUL 4 2016 BY MARK KANE 23

Nissan LEAF Cutaway With V2G Unit

Nissan LEAF Cutaway With V2G Unit

Research project “INEES” (‘Intelligent integration of electric vehicles into the power grid for the provision of system services’) on vehicle-to-grid resulted projects came to two major conclusions:

  • electric vehicles can provide a safe and secure power reserve for the power grid, and with a short reaction time
  • analysis has also shown that the provision of balancing electric power by an electric vehicle pool is not economically viable, at least under current conditions.

Well, this is probably why we mostly only see demonstrations V2G projects around the world today (at least outside of Japan), and there is no real commercial projects anywhere.  Well, that and V2G can stress battery longevity by increasing cycles without actually using them for miles driven.

The research project was conducted in Germany and included 20 Volkswagen e-up! electric cars modified for V2G, and 40 bi-directional DC chargers supplied by SMA Solar Technology.

“The “INEES” research project (‘Intelligent integration of electric vehicles into the power grid for the provision of system services’) has submitted its final report. The partners – Volkswagen AG, Lichtblick SE, SMA Solar Technology AG and the Fraunhofer Institute Wind Energy and Energy System Technology (IWES) – point to the fact that it is technically possible to absorb power fluctuations by connecting electric vehicles to the power supply. The research results will in future help to link electric mobility with the energy industry.

The electrical power supply as experienced a fundamental change with the energy revolution. More and more local, flexible units (such as photovoltaic systems, combined heat and power plants, etc.) generate electricity; however they are often dependent on different factors such as sunlight or wind levels. In addition to fluctuations due to varying power consumption, disparities in the electricity network can occur. At the same time, batteries in electric vehicles offer large storage potential and are thus an additional way to compensate for these fluctuations.

Part of the “INEES” research project (which ran from 1 June 2012 to 31 December 2015) investigated the possibility to achieve a balancing and stabilising effect on the power grid using a pool of electric vehicles. The idea behind it: the pooled batteries of electric vehicles form a power storage capability of significant size suitable for mass consumption, which can compensate for fluctuations in the power grid. The vehicles could load electricity as well as put surplus energy back into the power grid. This idea was tested in a one-year fleet trial. SMA Solar Technology AG developed a bi-directional DC-charging station for this purpose designed as an experimental system in a small production run of 40 devices. Volkswagen AG equipped 20 e-up!1 vehicles with a bidirectional charging function and built in a communication link between the charge controller and the Volkswagen “backend” computer centre. A mobile phone app was developed as a user interface. Participants in the fleet trial could use this app to see how their personal driving behaviour and the requirements of the electricity market are linked together. They allowed their vehicle battery to be used to support the power grid whilst basically experiencing no restrictions to their everyday mobility. An incentive system developed in the form of a SchwarmStrom® bonus also contributed to the project. Participants received this as soon as they allowed some of their battery capacity to be released for general use.

Lichtblick, an energy and IT company, integrated the released electricity from the vehicles into the energy market using its SchwarmDirigent® control software. The result: electric vehicles can provide a safe and secure power reserve for the power grid with a short reaction time. Analysis has shown that the provision of balancing electric power by an electric vehicle pool is not economically viable under current conditions. Planned legislative changes, further technical developments and the transformation of the energy system can significantly improve the economic factor in the future. The Fraunhofer Institute IWES analysis of the distribution networks load has shown that only network grids that are already heavily used today can expect short term shortages. In the medium term fluctuations in demand need to be allowed for when expanding the network.”

Categories: Charging, General, Volkswagen

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23 Comments on "INEES Project: V2G Reduces Power Fluctuations, But Is Not Economically Viable"

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I don’t really believe in V2G, at least not as long as EV batteries are relatively small and have a very limited lifetime. However, EVs in a smart grid could probably be useful for soaking up intermittent power generation by quickly regulating the charging speed of a large pool of cars.


Has never made sense while we’re wondering how to get 200 miles of range.

People who suggest V2G haven’t had to deal with battery degradation from frequent charge cycles.

Even without the very real battery degredation issue, V2G never made sense, economic or otherwise and I’ve been saying so for years.

So why didn’t VW just pay me a pittance to prove it to them?

Think of how many consultants that talk about “Frequency Stabilization” or, “Voltage Excursion Management” who draw big fees who in the end don’t have a better solution than what the vast majority of utilities are already doing, namely, load shedding big customers on hot days.

Requires no infrastructure expenditure, in fact, allows servicing the existing loads with FEWER power plants. And the customer gets a better rate by honoring the utility’s load shed request since they have to run their emergency generators routinely in any event. So its a big WIN WIN.

V2H on the other hand, does make sense. That is why I’ve implemented it in my house with my ev’s to keep the furnace on, the basement dry, and the refrigerators running, before I have to rely on the small portable emergency generator I have.


V2H is microscale of V2G, if everyone does V2H, it scales to V2G–especially the power shaving in the evening when PV goes out (500K solar homes in Cali alone).

What V2H model do you have? Sounds like you have Leaf with the battery statement and Chameo known solution.

Haha the experts (not just you ) have spoken: No and No. No, vehicle to home is *NOT* a microscale Vehicle to Grid. One, there is no synchronization required and Two, it is used only for emergency purposes so battery wear isn’t an issue. And No, I use Voltec products and put particularly the 140 amp alternator-eliminator to good use. Just because a faciltiy is available does not mean it should be used. One prime example is those Guardian or other branded automatic gensets installed on almost all upscale homes. They are a great convenience PROVIDED the owner can afford the considerable maintenance such units continually require. Northern Utilities LOVE these units because they have 800-1500 watt coolant heaters in them running a substantial period of time, mostly after midnight. I typically use that much electricity after midnight, but in my case, it is doing something usefull, namely CHARGING MY CARS, not keeping an engine warm for an emergency that will never happen. Should I personally have an emergency which absolutely requires I run my portable gasoline generator (smaller emergencies are handled with my v2home system), I pull on the recoil start until the oil is thin enough to get… Read more »

By the time v2g is in place 200 mile EVs will be common and battery life if temp, charge controlled well, is very long especially working just a 30% band of the
I’d would have liked to hear exactly why it wasn’t cost effecive as things have changed greatly since the start of the test.
Whether or not v2g happens, v2 home, business certainly

agree RE cost and agree on VTB (business):
what better way to get companies to offer charge at work, than an agreement that 5% of your battery will be available for peak need.

I can see that as the micro that leads to the macro, as we see experience “all that cycling” that worries people amounts to diddly in actual battery wear when stated and managed equitably and mutually.

(I am biased, I like my power co)

Lichtblick were a bit more positive about it, but they would be, wouldn’t they?

15 % of the energy is used as furnace fuel to extract various fractions like NGL, Gasoline, Kerosine, Diesel, Fuel Oil and other products from raw Crude Oil.

So instead of refining the crude and extracting the gasoline and then using that gasoline from a vehicle to power the grid is inefficient, instead the crude can be directly burnt in power plant to supply the power.

Besides Oil is lot more expensive on energy terms than coal or natgas or nuclear or wind energy.

That’s why V2G has never picked up despite 1.5 million plugin vehicles being in the market and will never pickup in the future as well.

Rick – I think the authors meant using grid energy stored in battery, not the energy coming from onboard generators in PHEVs

All these benefits can be achieved with the right algorithms managing regular charging of the vehicles. The value per vehicle is lower by 3x but the costs are lower by 10x and no anxiety. If one believes that we will see tens of millions of plug-ins in the next 5-10 years, all the grid services needs can be filled by V1G. Best of all, it’s available to the drivers today…

“Analysis has shown that the provision of balancing electric power by an electric vehicle pool is not economically viable under current conditions.”

I’ve pointed that out in several posts here on InsideEVs (and also the old TheEEStory forum). Common sense dictates that utilities can’t afford to pay EV owners fair market value to wear out their batteries. No need for any long involved study.

In other words: They shoulda asked me! 😛

PP, while that might ge true at the start of the test at$300/kwhr.
. By the time it is implimented, EV battery prices will be $100/KWHR and 20+ yr life even doing v2g too .
And large 200 mile packs.
Judging from the lack of battery degradation in most EVs, at least the ones with battery temp control, it isn’t likely to be a problem.

I certainly believe that V2G will be economically viable in the future, but only after the following occurs:

1. Fossil fuel power sources become priced at their true cost. This means an end to any subsidies and implementation of carbon taxes for the true cost of pollution and environmental damage caused by extraction, transport, processing and usage of fossil fuels.

2. EV battery costs reduced once the world has a sufficient mass of batteries going into recycling, so that the amount of raw material that has to be mined and refined is reduced. At some distant future date, 90% of batteries will be from recycled material, and 10% will be additional resources mined from the earth… assuming that lithium is forever the element of choice for energy storage.

Utilities just need to buy their own batteries for load balancing. (this is actually already happening)

VW is not positive of course, Because Nissan and Mitsubishi already delivering cars with can do, and the german car industry does’t.

Just like with other economic conclusions about EV tech: wait 5=10 years and check again.

When 40-80 KWh batteries become the norm, and with battery longevity constantly improving, there will be immense collective battery potential sitting virtually unused every day, and using it will have far fewer downsides.

“Redox flow batteries offer an economical, low vulnerability means to store electrical energy at grid scale.” So says the Energy Storage Association.

Redox batteries are flow batteries with a liquid electrolyte. A number of Vanadium Redox flow batteries have been sold in Japan to act as instantaneous, seamless backup for critical industrial processes. There are also some here on the U.S. grid being used for emergency backup power.

You would think the utilities would do better with something like this rather than car batteries. I’ve never been a big fan of V2G.

I think the future of V2G has some real possibilities. For a start V1G, or utility control of battery charging, has no downsides. EV drivers schedule on their smartphone how much energy they want and by what time, and the utility decides when, and how fast, to do the charging.

For V2G, there will be some EV batteries that will “age out” before they wear out from Amp-hour cycles. EV owners will be better served to sell to utilities some of their Ah cycles that they will not use before the battery reaches the end of its calendar life of about 12-20 years.

Most EVs will have batteries much larger than their owners daily requirements to allow for the occasional longer trip. Owners of these 200-350 mile cars could specify a portion of their range for utility use most of the time, and specify (using smartphone app) they want full use when they take a long trip.

V2G is a win-win technology. The time will come when it is economically viable.


There likely is more potential in an intelligent charging system that makes the car charge when there is lots of electricity available and at contrary stop the charge when electricity is scarce.
That would not be a V2G but a G2V on grid command, which would in effect have about the same result without the back flow from car to grid.

This study was finished well before there were 60kWh and bigger batteries in the general population of EVs. With batteries 3x the size of those studied, the economics changes dramatically.

The study completely ignores the advantage of having a backup neighborhood power source in the event of a power outage. Extremely likely in my area of Texas this time of year. I’ve had multiple power spikes or outages 3 out of the last 7 nights. Woulda been nice not to have to set the microwave clock every time.

INEES report shows intelligent integration of EVs reduces power fluctuations, but not currently economically viable The findings of the report show that it is technically possible to absorb grid power fluctuations by connecting electric vehicles to the power supply. The research results will in future help to link electric mobility with the energy industry.