Nissan has countered suggestions that providing vehicle to grid services using electric vehicles (EVs) will leave customers with empty batteries.
Some prominent EV owners, such as Energy Managers Association CEO Lord Redesdale, have suggested that the idea of using EV batteries as energy storage is “complete crap”, because owners will be reluctant to lose power after spending hours charging their car.
The issue resurfaced as car manufacturers gave evidence to the Beis Committee on electric vehicles earlier today.
Pointing to its experience of vehicle to grid (V2G) services in Denmark, Gareth Dunsmore, electric vehicle director at Nissan Europe, explained that V2G services are more nuanced.
“It is not draining the battery, it is using the battery to balance the grid,” he said.
“It uses the battery, but it also puts energy into the battery; it is going up and down rather than draining,” he continued. “Draining the battery is not where the value is for the energy company or the customer.”
Nissan’s V2G services in Denmark have initially been fleet-driven, said Dunsmore. In the UK, the firm is involved in Innovate UK funded trials to examine potential for V2G services in both fleet and privately used EVs.
That trial hopes to determine value propositions for car manufacturers, energy companies “and for private customer, to see if they would take [that proposition], which we absolutely believe they would do”, said Dunsmore.
Ian Robertson, Member of the Board of Management at BMW AG, said uptake of V2G services “is all about experience”.
“The technology is more than capable of deciding when the battery can be part of a network, and deciding when the customer is going to be likely to use it, because generally, most of us sleep at night. Therefore there is a period when it can be used as a storage facility for wider use.”
He added: “Any area that people can make money out of generally gets people’s attention.”
Speaking about the heavy commercial vehicle sector, Mike Kerslake, UK technical manager for Chinese battery firm BYD, said V2G services for those customers may require a change of service model in terms of battery ownership and management.
“Perhaps the vehicle owner doesn’t own the battery, but it is [instead] leased from an energy resources company, who also gets value from the vehicle to grid capability,” said Kerslake. “So there is quite a potential change in the way it works.”
The manufacturers also told MPs that second life batteries – repurposing batteries from used electric vehicles to co-locate with renewables, or for standalone storage – will represent a sizeable commercial opportunity as EV volumes grow.
Watch the session here or below.