Much is said about the current high costs of electric vehicles, however these reports do not always take into account the savings that EV owners benefit from: Such as lower fuel costs (1p per mile!), fewer maintenance bills and no car tax.
These benefits keep coming and now a new report has shown that EV drivers have the potential to actually earn money from their electric car! In the worlds largest Vehicle to Grid (V2G) study, UK companies Cenex, OVO Energy and Kaluza trialled V2G technology with 320 EV drivers over 3 years. The project essentially turned these EVs into a distributed virtual power plant.
This means that when the cars were not being used they could automatically charge their batteries, during off-peak periods when electricity costs were low or even negative. Then during peak periods when electricity prices were high, the cars would sell some of their power back to the grid for a profit. This not only helps to balance the national grid and reduce the number of physical power plants, but it adds a potential extra income stream for EV owners.
One of the main reasons that electric cars cost more than their ICE equivalents are the expensive Lithium-ion batteries. However EV owner are not getting their moneys worth from this powerful technology, with most cars spending 95% of their time parked and unused. V2G provides the potential for EVs to earn their owners money while they are parked, thus reducing the payback time and making buying an EV more attractive. The study found that by using V2G tech, owners could earn up to £725 per year selling power back to the grid.
One key concern that EV owners have about V2G technology is the possibility of battery degradation, from increased charging and discharging. However the study found that battery degradation was not a problem using smart charging technology and most participants concerns were alleviated over the 3 year trial period and experienced the benefits. In fact by the end of the project, the majority of people taking part said that having V2G tech in their next EV would be a key priority.