Living with V2G
That’s vehicle to grid to you and me. When we’re not driving, our car is plugged in to a charger which is controlled by our energy supplier.
This is key – our supplier, Ovo, do not have ANY means of generating electricity but they are a supplier. Well, technically, a value added reseller.
That’s the key part of why they approached us in 2019 and asked, as we had an “old Leaf”, whether we’d be interested in a vehicle to grid trial?
The good thing about it was they would supply our electricity at normal cost but they would “buy stored energy from our battery and/or solar cells” at a much higher rate.
We said, “yes please”.
Of course, then Covid-19 struck. Which made installation of a new DC charger much more complicated.
Our car has two ways of charging, a type 2 charger which takes an AC feed at 3.2kWh and a DC one which can take upto 50kW – called a CHAdeMO port, it has the ability to pull power out of the battery as well as feed power into the car.
The install took about an hour – it did need an extra fuse as it runs at a high current but what it gives us is the means to charge the car from empty to 100% full in 270 minutes or two and half hours.
Or take from the car almost as quickly. Teamed with the Kaluza app, we can set schedules to ensure the car is ready for the commute to work or the trip to see the family. It also allows us to see whether we’re charging or exporting and to do a “boost” or charge up to 100% at a moments notice.
We can also set mins and maxs, to both protect the battery and ensure we can use the car for a local journey any time of the day. In fact, it won’t let you go below 20% which can seriously degrade the battery performance.
I have to say, having done this since 12 March 2020, I can’t believe how well it’s worked for us.
Ovo buy the electricity from us when the wholesale electricity price is at a premium, so it wins by not buying “fossil fuel produced electricity” and charges the car when electricity is cheap – it can afford to give us quite a mark-up as a result. In 2020 and 2021, this meant that we didn’t pay for any electricity or gas. It looks like it might work out that way this year too.
If we use the donated electricity – we don’t get that benefit but of course, we’re not paying for that electricity twice. If that makes any sense.
Teaming this with energy efficient lights, cookers, and other appliances gives us the means to cook an oven meal and still donate over 6kW as seen below. That means we’re being paid while using electricity.
Modifying our behaviour and consumption a little makes our solar charging pay in too. The UK gets a source of battery back up for the grid, reduces it need for fossil fuels, and reduces its carbon footprint.
I see an elephant! What about your battery?
Good question. We’ve had the electric car since January 2014 and do still drive it around. Its battery is doing brilliantly – still at 99% efficiency. There aren’t many ICEs you can say that for, and it still drives like a new car.
When the battery does get to the point where we need to replace it, we can get one three times the size and use the old one as a house battery for the V2G – why wouldn’t we after all? It saves land fill and disposal and means we can help the grid.
Which again, looks like something that’s hard to do with a non-EV. On a “green day” like today has been (i.e. very little gas has been burnt to power the grid), of course, we come out ahead…
Some days we don’t: but it has helped off-set our cost of living crisis. And Ovo are keen enough to keep the deal up to date – as wholesale prices go up, so does the money Ovo pay us.
Posted: June 18th, 2022 under Driving off the grid.