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Hive batteries in 10 million Nissan electric cars could power the whole of the UK

The proliferation of EVs is unsustainable, critics say, because power grids won’t be able to cope when everyone and their dog plugs in EVs en masse. However, the opposite could be the case: battery-powered vehicles could pump electrons in the electrical network. When EVs are not in use, that is, which, like most motor vehicles, is most of the time.

Electric vehicles could therefore soon provide a widely distributed two-way beehive-like battery resource that would store green energy when it might otherwise be wasted and feed it back into the power grid at peak times.

The $27,400 Nissan Leaf is one of the few widely available electric cars that is already bidirectional in the sense that it can both suck in power and pump it out again. The $47,000 Ariya, the The Japanese company’s new all-electric crossover SUV recently crowned “Car of the Year” by Auto-Express, is also so equipped. Theoretically, ten million Nissan electric vehicles using the company’s Energy Share mode could meet peaks in electricity demand for the whole of the UK.

There are 32 million motor vehicles registered in the UK Currently, only 500,000 of these are fully electric models, but as the UK will ban the sale of new petrol and diesel cars by 2030, adoption of electric vehicles will accelerate. Before the pandemic, about two million new cars were registered each year. According to figures from car analyst Jato, nearly 4.2 million electric cars were sold worldwide in 2021, up 108% from 2020 and 198% from 2019.

Optimistically, nearly half of UK motor vehicles could be electric or hybrid electric by 2030.

The Leaf was a global electric car pioneer when it was introduced in 2010. Nissan introduced a second generation iteration in 2019. 500,000 Leafs have been sold worldwide since launch in 2010, Nissan said in 2020. The company’s factory in Sunderland, in the northeast of England, can manufacture 100,000 electric vehicles a year.

Nissan’s EVs can store and pump electricity as well as suck it in for propulsion because they are equipped with CHAdeMO charging ports in addition to the more standard CCS ports. CHAdeMO is a standard charging mode in Japan, but automakers except Nissan have not included the charging technology on cars available outside the country.

In Japan, Nissan Leaf cars have fueled disaster relief efforts – after earthquakes, in particular – for more than a decade.

net zero

As fracking continues to make headlines in the UK – key supporters of those MPs still in the Tory leadership race have wanted their favorite candidates to reinvigorate fracking and drop net zero pledges – since 2019, more of electricity is produced on the British Isles by cleaner sources than fossil fuels. With the growth of onshore and offshore wind farms and the closure of coal-fired power stations, transport is currently the biggest source of greenhouse gas emissions in the UK, making it a no-brainer for politicians to push adoption of electric vehicles.

The National Grid, which operates the UK’s electricity grid, is optimistic that demand for energy will not exceed supply, predicting a 10% increase in electricity consumption even if “we all spend to electric vehicles overnight.

And if electric cars were charged with home solar power or plugged in during off-peak hours and that electricity was sold to the grid at peak times, that would be a win for EV owners, earning them money and a victory for the network. , smoothing out peaks and troughs in the energy supply.

Household energy bills in the UK rose by 54% in April 2022, a record increase, and are expected to rise further in October.

From vehicle to network

Plugging an electric car into the grid is a process known as vehicle-to-grid, or V2G. Plugging in an EV to power a home is known as Vehicle-to-Building, or V2B, and the generic ability of EVs to power the grid or buildings or replenish power supplies is known as VGI, or vehicle-network integration.

The Nissan Leaf and Nissan Electric Van as well as the new Ariya are the most widely available electric vehicles with vehicle-to-grid integration as standard.

The CCS charging system is expected to be VGI compatible by 2025.

The British government has subsidized the VGI sector. Several projects, typically using the Sunderland-built Nissan Leaf, have been supported by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and the Office for Zero Emission Vehicles. These projects include trials by OVO Energy and Octopus Electric Vehicles, which are expected to report their findings soon.

VGI projects already operational elsewhere in Europe include one in Denmark, which has been operating commercially since 2016. It was a collaboration between Nissan, energy multinational Enel, and California-based Nuvve, a VGI specialist founded in 2010. Nuvve has signed a memorandum of understanding with the US Department of Energy to commercialize VGI technologies in the US)

Four years ago, Nissan supplied batteries from outdated electric vehicles to provide emergency power and VGI capability at the Johan Cruijff Arena in Amsterdam, home of football club Ajax. The arena’s roof sports 4,200 solar panels, with the resulting electricity stored in the equivalent of 148 Nissan Leaf batteries; excess electricity is sold to the Dutch national grid.

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Post expires at 3:49pm on Friday July 22nd, 2022