What is V2G exactly? It is an innovative technology based on bidirectional load management, which transforms electric vehicles into large, “mobile batteries” that interact intelligently with the grid.
In practical terms, vehicles draw energy for recharging during periods of lower consumption and give energy back to the grid when demand is high, thereby helping to balance supply and demand and to avoid blackouts. In other words, they provide “grid-flexibility” services in order to increase stability and safety.
The technology will, of course, be developed so as to avoid any inconvenience for users, who will simply need to connect their vehicle to the charging station and input the time at which they want to be back on the road and the distance to be traveled or the percent charge to be achieved, and the system will take care of the rest automatically.
And that’s not all. When the final system has been perfected so as to enable individual vehicles to participate in this market, the flexible services provided by electric vehicles will also result in cost savings. As a result, the V2G system will not only improve grid performance, but will also create value for drivers, who will be able to optimize the total cost of ownership of their cars.
At the moment, the project serves as an opportunity to demonstrate that V2G technology works, but it will eventually become a repeatable business model that will offer significant savings to parking garages and corporate fleet managers.
From testing to full-scale operation
Creation of the system at the Mirafiori Drosso logistics center will transform the electric New 500s sitting on the lot waiting to be sold from a pure cost into an opportunity for cost savings, with this same sort of savings being available, in the not-so-distant future, to car-rental companies and all who manage fleets of electric vehicles. A great many vehicles are to be parked at the Drosso logistics center, an area of 3,000 square meters (about three-quarters of an acre), making this an excellent opportunity to provide grid services as well as the ideal context in which to maximize the potential of V2G made possible by its two key factors, i.e. the availability of vehicles and the low level of degradation of their batteries, given that the vehicles will be parked on the lot on rotation and for short periods of time.
As they await delivery to dealers, the electric New 500s will be connected to 50 kW, fast-charging, bidirectional charging stations. The centralized infrastructure and advanced control system, which allow for both rapid charging and V2G grid services, have both been designed, patented and produced by Engie EPS.