Bundled vehicle-to-grid (V2G) charging can benefit EV users

Claire Miller, Director of Technology and Innovation at Octopus Electric Vehicles

A novel trial of 135 electric vehicle (EV) users succeeded in developing a bundle of services to make two-way charging simple for domestic customers.

Led by Octopus Electric Vehicles, the Powerloop project deployed a V2G bundle at homes in London, the south-east and East Anglia.

The other consortium partners were:

  • Octopus Energy
  • UK Power Networks
  • Open Energi
  • Guidehouse
  • Energy Saving Trust
  • Chargepoint Services, now part of Engie.

About the project

Intelligent charging

Together they assembled a bundle of services that included a lease on a Nissan LEAF EV and a two-way charger feeding into a variable energy tariff with flexible incentives.

The Powerloop app helped users to charge and discharge intelligently, using energy stored in their EV to power their home when prices were high or selling it back to the grid.

The optimisation technology behind Powerloop takes signals from the market, assessing when the grid needs energy from the vehicle and when it can use the battery to store energy. It then tells the two-way charger when to charge and discharge to the grid.

The £7 million project was part of the world’s largest and most diverse V2G demonstration programme. The V2G programme was delivered by Innovate UK as part of UK Research and Innovation and funded by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and the Office for Zero Emission Vehicles.

Impacts of the project

Significant savings

Claire Miller, Director of Technology and Innovation at Octopus Electric Vehicles, said:

An important part of the project has been around procuring and installing equipment which is, at the moment, quite expensive. We certainly couldn’t have done that without that support.

Just as importantly, those taking part in the trial have provided encouraging feedback from their experience of using the system.

Claire added:

There have been some significant savings. On top of that, customers have been having a really easy experience. Set and forget, let us know when you need your car, and we’ll do the rest.

Net zero targets

Another success for Powerloop has been to negotiate a reduction in the minimum capacity required for EVs to take part in National Grid’s Balancing Mechanism (BM). The BM is a continuously open online auction, with thousands of trades issued daily, to help balance energy supply and demand.

Claire added:

We’ve worked closely with National Grid. Taking electric vehicles into the balancing mechanism will help the UK to burn fewer fossil fuels and ultimately to reach our net zero targets.

Powerloop partners also simplified the processes involved in applying to the distribution network operator to have a V2G charger installed at home.

That education programme is now being rolled out across the country as a V2G best practice guide with recommendations for domestic V2G installations and connections. A V2G roadmap offers insight into and recommendations on network readiness for domestic V2G at scale.

Video credit: UKRI
On-screen captions and an autogenerated transcript are available on YouTube.

Further information

Find out more about V2G around the world.

View other V2G videos on our YouTube playlist.

Top image:  Claire Miller, Director of Technology and Innovation at Octopus Electric Vehicles (credit: Octopus Electric Vehicles)

This is the website for UKRI: our seven research councils, Research England and Innovate UK. Let us know if you have feedback or would like to help improve our online products and services.