Honda to play central role in V2G demonstrator project

Car giant Honda has teamed up with other firms, local bodies and academic institutions for a new project that aims to demonstrate the business case for Vehicle-to-Grid (V2G) technologies across the UK.

V2G focuses on helping businesses and electric car owners to benefit financially from the energy stored in EV batteries. Surplus energy can be transferred to the grid to balance power demand.

Honda has tapped into the emerging market by joining a new UK consortium project, which includes global management consulting firm A.T. Kearney, research group Cenex, Leeds and Nottingham City Councils, the University of Nottingham and Warwick University.

Honda will supply its Power Manager system, which enables the distribution of electricity between the grid and consumers through EVs, solar-panel equipped homes and workplaces. The Power Manager units will be used to stabilise the grid at times of either short or surplus supply.

“As well as providing a direct benefit to the grid, this initiative will demonstrate value for consumers, as the technology allows them to earn money from surplus energy put back into the grid,” Honda Motor Europe electrification and home energy management project leader Jørgen Pluym said.

“The provision of both EV and energy management to the customer is an offer unique to Honda.”

‘Exciting opportunity’

The four-year EV-elocity scheme has already attracted £7m funding from Innovate UK. Other consortium members include infrastructure investors The Peel Group, EV car hire service Ecar club and engineering company Brixworth Technology.

A.T. Kearney head of UK utilities and consortium lead Tom Harper said the project would look to take V2G beyond a technology trial with a view to scaling it up to widespread commercial usage.

“Retaining customers and broadening the range of services offered is central to a lot of energy retail strategies,” Harper said. “V2G is an exciting opportunity as the value on offer per vehicle is sizeable.”

The V2G concept has started to build momentum over the past few months. In January, Nissan revealed that its own V2G demonstrator project will target 1000 installations over the next three years, as the car giant aims to help make the UK grid “more sustainable and more stable”.

The Japanese firm is a member of the e4Future project, which was last week awarded £9.8m as part of the Government’s programme to develop the business proposition and core technology around V2G.

Nissan has already partnered with Italian energy company Enel to develop 100 V2G energy storage units in London. It has also fitted its R&D facilities in Cranfield with its V2G concept, which could reportedly generate 180MW of capacity if all 18,000 Nissan EVs in the UK were connected to the network.

George Ogleby

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