At the first Nissan Futures event in London, Nissan today made a series of announcements concerning the company’s plans for further developing its range of electric vehicles (EVs), integration with the national grid, and next generation battery technology.
Headlining today’s event is the launch of a major vehicle-to-grid (V2G) trial in the UK in partnership with energy provider Enel that will see Nissan electric vehicles supplying the UK’s National Grid with an efficient and flexible source of energy.
The trial will work by installing and connecting one hundred V2G units at locations agreed by private and fleet owners of the Nissan LEAF and e-NV200 electric van. By giving EV owners the ability to plug their vehicles into the V2G system, owners will have the flexibility and power to sell stored energy from their vehicle battery back to the National Grid.
Today’s announcement heralds an exciting era for energy management in the UK. Not only will EV owners be able to play an active role in grid stability, so providing an alternate source of income for the EV owner, it will revolutionise how energy is supplied to the grid. Once scaled up, the V2G technology can become a game-changer for owners of EVs in the UK as they become fully fledged and active participants in the UK energy market.
Paul Willcox, Chairman of Nissan Europe, said: “Today’s landmark trial in the UK is a significant step forward in renewable energy management, helping shape the future of industries, cities and societies. Smart energy management is one of the biggest challenges any nation faces for the future which is why this trial is so critical in assessing the feasibility of using variable, more flexible energy sources.
“We see Nissan electric vehicles as being the mobile energy hubs of the future, pioneering a self-sustaining energy infrastructure that will help solve the capacity issues of the future. This is the first time this has ever been done in the UK and by enabling customers to sell energy back to the grid, we’re providing a financial incentive to choose the sustainable option.””
Steven Holliday, Non-Executive Director, National Grid, said: “At National Grid we are constantly looking to the future to ensure we have the capacity to meet national energy demand – it’s our job to future proof the national transmission network. The rapid uptake of Electric Vehicles is certainly positive yet could also be challenging if we don’t plan ahead to understand precisely what effect this new technology will have on the electricity system.
“Our Future Energy team predict that there could be up to 700,000 Electric Vehicles in 2020 requiring an extra 500 MW of energy. That’s why we support innovative technologies and pioneering projects such as this one that have the potential to make a real difference to the way we manage energy supply and demand.”
Currently if all 18,000 Nissan electric vehicles in the UK were connected to the energy network, they would generate the equivalent output of a 180 MW power plant. If that was scaled up in a future where all the vehicles on UK roads are electric, vehicle-to-grid technology could generate a virtual power plant of up to 370 GW. This energy capacity would be enough to power the UK, Germany and France.
Also launched today is Nissan’s revolutionary new residential energy storage system called xStorage (top) developed alongside Eaton, the global leaders in power management. The system, not unlike Tesla Powerwall, will not only give Nissan EV batteries a ‘second life’, but will also provide customers with a fully integrated energy storage solution that will put energy management and distribution back in the hands of the consumer.
Connected to residential power supply or renewable energy sources such as solar panels, the unit can save customers money on their utility bills by charging up when renewable energy is available or energy is cheaper (e.g. during the night) and releasing that stored energy when demand and costs are high. If a home is equipped with solar technology, this means that consumers can power their homes using clean energy stored in their xStorage system, and be rewarded financially for doing so by avoiding expensive daytime energy tariffs.
The home energy storage system also provides the ultimate back-up solution to consumers, ensuring that the lights never go out – ideal at a time when energy grids are coming under enormous strain. Moreover, customers can also generate additional revenues by selling stored energy back to the grid when demand and costs are high. The units also have smartphone connectivity to allow consumers to flick between energy sources at the touch of a button.
Leading by example, Nissan today confirmed that the company will integrate V2G technology and energy storage solutions into all of its major European offices by the end of 2017. For Nissan customers, the ‘xStorage’ solution will be available to pre-order from September 2016.