The consortium behind a large-scale vehicle-to-grid trial has urged more fleet operators to get involved.
E-Flex aims to develop vehicle-to-grid (V2G) services using up to 100 vehicles. The InnovateUK-funded trial involves the GLA, TfL, Cisco, Cenex, Imperial College London, E-Car Club and Nuvve.
Under the programme, operators in and around London receive free V2G charging infrastructure and get to keep any revenue generated by using the vehicles to provide grid services.
Chris Rimmer, Infrastructure Strategy lead at Cenex, said operators also gain first-mover advantage of technology and services that is likely to play an increasing role as the UK decarbonises and power and transport vectors converge.
“A lot of the current value in V2G is actually the learning. So the operators that get onboard now will be best placed to understand what is coming, to better inform future decision-making in a de-risked fashion,” said Rimmer.
The project is particularly keen to hear from ‘return-to-depot’ fleet operators where vehicles may often be plugged in but not necessarily charging, for example, “council housing management, operations, delivery firms, those operating pool cars”, added Rimmer.
He said the consortium has engaged with more than a hundred operators since launch, but like many trials, faces challenges in converting interest into participation.
“There is a lot of interest, but many commercial operators are at the beginning of the journey,” said Rimmer. “For many, the conversation is still around ‘should I have an EV or not’. I think our trial and others will help move that conversation forward, but we have to be realistic.”
E-Flex has signed up three fleet operators to date: Fruit 4 London, Plymouth Council and a last mile parcel delivery firm, set to be announced in the coming weeks. Rimmer said there are “around 20 businesses in the pipeline”, with the trial now intending to harness around 100 vehicles.
“We’re building steam,” said Rimmer, “but we remain keen to hear from other fleet operators.”
See e-flex.co.uk for details