Electric vehicles (EVs) can provide a range of advantages both for drivers and the environment. A less talked about benefit is bi-directional charging. This charging can be Vehicle-to-Load (V2L) which means you can power accessories from your car, or Vehicle-to-Grid (V2G) which enables you to use your car as battery storage and put excess energy back into the electricity grid, possibly earning you some money back too.
Not all of the technology is available today, so this article explains what V2G is all about, when it will arrive and the benefits it could bring to Motability Scheme EV customers.
What is Vehicle-to-Grid or V2G?
For most of us, an EV is all about driving using electric power which is both clean and often cheaper than conventional petrol or diesel. There are other benefits to an EV though, including bi-directional charging. This includes V2G, which essentially turns your electric vehicle into an energy storage device, like a mobile battery. It means that you can put excess energy back into the national electricity grid to help out during peak periods, or when renewable electricity sources such as wind and solar are low.
Smart charging systems will ensure you always have enough charge in your EV for when you need it but when you aren’t using the car it could be helping to balance the load on the grid. Some electricity companies will also pay you for the energy your car returns to the grid, meaning you could potentially charge your EV during off-peak times and be paid for returning energy during off-peak times.
Good to know
If you are a Motability Scheme customer leasing your first electric vehicle, you can get a home charge point installed at no extra cost.
What is the difference between V2G and Vehicle-to-Load (V2L)?
Both V2G and V2L are forms of bi-directional charging, basically, the ability to put electricity into the car or take energy out for other uses. In the case of V2G the energy goes back into the grid, but V2L which is already available on models like the Hyundai Ioniq 5, Kia EV6 and MG4, allows you to power accessories such as a pressure washer, vacuum cleaner or even a coffee machine. You can also use V2L to charge an electric bike, or a mobility scooter or give power to another EV.
What models will have V2G and when can we expect the technology to be introduced?
Trials of V2G have taken place in the UK in recent years and the data from those trials is currently being assessed. Only one model has so far been able to provide V2G capability, the Nissan Leaf. However, it has been restricted to trial participants mainly because of the cost of the charging devices and because the Nissan Leaf uses a charging plug called CHAdeMo which was developed in Japan for bi-directional charging.
Most EVs use the Combined Charging System (CCS) plug though and V2G technology will only be available for this system from 2025. In the meantime, CCS can be used for V2L on models equipped with it.
What infrastructure will be needed for V2G to work?
Very few of the existing home charge points are V2G capable and those that are can cost thousands of pounds. However, the costs are coming down and by the time the technology is more widely available in 2025 it is expected that more chargers will incorporate V2G technology at the price you pay for a unit today.
Managing the V2G capability will be simple thanks to smart charging and the use of smartphone apps. These apps will allow you to control how V2G works with your EV and ensure you always have enough charge in your car to suit your daily needs.
What does V2G mean for Motability Scheme customers?
If V2G technology does arrive in 2025 it will allow Motability Scheme EV customers to manage their energy usage using the latest smart charging systems. This could mean power from your car can help power your home, what’s called Vehicle-to-Home (V2H), or you could be paid by your electricity supplier for energy you supply back to the grid. It will all work fairly seamlessly, taking power from your car during peak periods and putting it back at night during off-peak times when the electricity is cheaper. The software will also ensure that you always have enough power in your car when you want to drive away.
Want to learn more about electric vehicle charging?
Check out our video answering some of the most frequently asked questions about EV charging, including how to get a home charge point installed as a Motability Scheme customer.