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What is Vehicle-To-Grid (V2G), and Can It Help Avoid Utility Power Issues

(Rick Sander, CEO, Tuesday, May 19, 2020)

One of the hot topics in energy storage today is “vehicle-to-grid” (also known as V2G). You can think of V2G as “crowdsourced” energy storage for the utility grid. The concept is consumers and organizations plug their electric vehicles (EVs) into V2G capable chargers during peak hours, and the excess power stored in the EV is then put back onto the grid. Once peak hours are over, the vehicle is recharged to whatever level that the user desires. Since energy is being put onto the grid during peak hours and put into the vehicle during off-peak hours, consumers and organizations reduce the charging costs for their EVs, which incentivizes them to participate in V2G.

V2G is attractive for a variety of reasons. With up to 18 million EVs predicted in the US by 2030, V2G has the potential energy storage capacity of nearly a million MWh. V2G is also “mobile” (e.g., it uses motor vehicles) with state-of-the-art batteries that are usually close (or can easily be moved) to where energy demand is. Best of all, the only cost to implement V2G is the cost delta to make EV chargers bidirectional, allowing energy to flow from the EV to the grid as well as from the grid to the EV. While there is much about V2G that is attractive, it does have its shortcomings. One of the greatest is that the amount of energy in vehicles at the “end of the day” is largely uncontrollable, making the amount of energy available unreliable. For utilities looking to simply add some “cheap” storage capacity, this isn’t an issue. However for fleet EV operators, V2G by itself may not be an answer to the lack of grid capacity – it requires careful planning and management. We will explore how to integrate V2G into an overall EV fleet charging infrastructure in later blogs.

As a leader in the development and manufacturing of bi-directional, high-power energy systems for both vehicle charging and photovoltaic solar applications, Rhombus is an expert in high-power charging systems for EVs, and especially in the area of vehicle-to-grid (V2G) charging. We have built hundreds of V2G-capable high-power, high-reliability chargers for a variety of different sizes and classes of EVs. Find out how we can help you by contacting us at sales@rhombusenergy.com, or by reading our Energy Storage Reference Architecture white paper.

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