Vehicle-to-Everything (V2X) is the use of electric vehicles as an asset for grid operators and consumers alike to smartly coordinate eletricity consumption. Its value case is significant both in terms of energy savings and revenue generation, so why is it not being used to its full potential as an energy transition driver?
Two whitepapers were recently published on the topic, exploring the use cases of Electric Vehicles (EVs) as grid assets in V2X systems.
The electrification era, scaling up electric vehicles was published by GridBeyond, a company that develops energy services for industrial and commercial sites, examining the concept of V2X and the opportunities it represents for businesses to grow revenue while helping the grid cope with increasing levels of renewable energy.
And in EV smart charging provider ev.energy’s whitepaper, Unlocking Industry Barriers to Providing Vehicle-to-Everything Flexibility, their research underscores the key challenges on the growth map for V2X, namely that of consumer acceptance.
The topic is being widely discussed and researched as a means to integrating the much needed low carbon technology into grid planning as it has demonstrated repeatedly its use for driving the energy transition home.
In their whitepaper, GridBeyond defines V2X as “the overall term for different forms of bi-directional charging and discharging of the EV battery, including Vehicle-to-Grid (V2G), Vehicle-to-Building (V2H) and Vehicle-to-Load (V2L).
“V2X systems use a combination of hardware and software, including vehicle controllers, inverters and communication protocols to enable the bi-directional flow of power and data between EVs and external systems. This mechanism permits the grid to draw on EVs’ stored energy to accommodate sudden surges in power requirements. The EV battery power is then replenished when the demand on the system is low.”
This proven concept takes the EV technology and transforms it into a flexible asset for grid operators to leverage for grid operations and management.
A ‘smart’ form of charging, the different iterations of V2X has been gaining ground and the two whitepapers explore the concept, discussing how we as industry can create and proverbially drive the technology to market.
The electrification era
Crediting policy interventions and rising fuel/petrol costs, GridBeyond touts how global sales of EVs last year increased by an estimated record-breaking 60%, with projections showing the market will make only more headway in the years to come.
States the company on the growingly interconnected relationship between EVs and the electric grid:
“With the power grid transitioning from a conventional, unidirectional energy delivery model to a more decentralised one, where consumers actively contribute to the generation of electricity, the significance of flexible solutions at the consumer level, such as EV batteries, is critical. It provides grid-connected storage for overall flexibility.”
Additionally, there is immense dispatch value behind the EV, which can be used as a power plant planning asset, coordinating power flow to and from the grid as a flexible resource.
According to GridBeyond, although V2X tech shows such promise for flexibility, its development and implementation are currently region-specific, relying on the availability of charging infrastructure, grid capacity and supportive policies.
To fully realise the potential of EVs in grid stability, policymakers and industry stakeholders need to work together to create a supportive regulatory framework, states their report, and incentivise fleet owners to participate in grid programmes.
This includes providing clear guidelines on technical requirements and compensation structures, as well as addressing issues related to data privacy and security.
To fully tap the dispatch potential of EVs and promote their more extensive participation in the power system, the report finds that an optimised dispatching strategy, based on the dynamic electricity price mechanism, would be required.
And with the right policies and incentives in place, they add, EVs can become an even more valuable asset for a sustainable and stable energy system.
So how can we actively bring this tech to market?
According to ev.energy, consumer acceptance is the critical factor in bring V2X to the table as a compelling grid asset.
Widespread buy-in from consumers, they state, will be vital and a convenient and compelling value proposition will ensure the technology’s success:
“The ideal offering is a set-and-forget solution that requires minimal behavioural change from end users while reminding them of the value they’re unlocking.”
Attractive compensation, affordable and available charging equipment, safe operation of battery and vehicle, seamless user experience and trust and transparency of automated control are the five essentials within ev.energy’s ‘set-and-forget’ solution, although this is easier said than done.
Electric mobility and grid management are key talking points at this year’s Enlit Europe, happening in Paris, France, from November 28 to 30.
Getting to this solution, developing a roadmap to industry action for V2X, will need collaboration between automotive companies, tech providers, utilities, governments and regulators.
Namely, according to the report, the industry will need to come together and:
- Improve access to power markets for EV energy flexibility
Collaboration is needed alongside hardware manufacturers to re-design capacity and energy market qualification requirements to match the response and metering capabilities of EVs and chargers.
- Enable service stacking between different flexibility markets
Networks, system operators and flexibility providers must work together to harmonise market and operational procedures. Collective focus, they state, will be needed to consolidate the ‘wins’ where domestic flexibility is working so that monitorable and controllable EV flexibility can scale up.
- Develop new electricity rates/tariffs to incentivise smarter energy consumption
Static Time of Use rates restricts flexibility, states the report, while dynamic rates are overly complex for consumers.
Innovative Type of Use rates should be developed and the report cites the case of the UK, which is beginning to tackle the challenge, although government and energy suppliers must accelerate the rollout of smart meters to enable better tariffs based on when consumers use electricity.
- Offer consumer-centric V2X propositions
Software providers, automakers, charger manufacturers and energy suppliers must develop consumer-centric V2X propositions, which would involve both technology and business model innovation.
- Develop a faster, simpler process for grid connection
Electricity networks need to work with charger manufacturers and software providers to develop better interconnection/grid code processes so that V2X chargers can be installed quickly and easily, while ensuring grid safety and maintaining stability.
- Certify battery warranties for V2X operation.
EV charging platforms must work with automakers and regulators to establish approved use cases and standardise duty cycle parameters for V2X applications. V2X operation needs to be covered under the conditions of a battery warranty to be accepted by consumers.
- Set standards that help industry scale
All parties must work to establish standards for interoperability, data sharing and cybersecurity. Standards should be proportionate to the importance and scale of the service, and not be so rigid or burdensome as to stifle innovation or block new entrants.
- Communicate clearly and consistently the benefits of V2X technology.
The industry must use simple, consistent messaging on the topic when communicating with the public, media, government and wider industry.
Additionally, as Europe potentially proceeds with its electricity market reforms, where flexibility and demand-side response will likely gain more ground in the system, it will be interesting to follow how V2X might too develop.
My guess, based on how the technology has already been rapidly testing and developing, is that it will become only more complex as a proven asset for grid operators and consumers alike.