British smart-tech company SMPnet is leading a new collaborative project exploring the use of Vehicle to Everything (V2X) technology to power drivers’ homes while balancing the grid to meet the UK’s energy demands.
Funded by Innovate UK, the Vehicle to Energy Communities (VECTORS) project sees Loughborough University explore how energy from EV batteries could be pushed back to the power grid through bi-directional charging. It will test how this type of charging can store excess energy produced by solar panels on consumer homes within their EV batteries.
This could lead to further energy being passed back to the grid and provide consumers with individual and community-based money-saving incentives.
The aims of the VECTORS project are to:
- Unlock and expand the energy flexibility potential of EV bi-directional charging technologies and business models in the UK
- Accelerate commercialisation of V2X technologies and services
- Increase business and consumer interest in V2X
- Bring together diverse stakeholders across the energy and transport sectors to overcome barriers to V2X deployment
With a focus on the domestic setting, the project is being led by Dr Tracy Ross of the School of Design and Creative Arts – an expert in people-centred design of transport service innovations.
Ross commented on the importance of such a project: “The vehicle-to-home concept that VECTORS is working on would make the most of electric vehicles by seeing them as ‘floating batteries’…As it is such a new concept for people to understand, it is crucial to gain homeowners views at an early stage so that the final system is designed to meet their needs, eradicate any concerns, and ensure they get the best experience out of it.
“The wider societal benefits of balancing the grid and making more use of renewable sources won’t be achieved if uptake is low…It is exciting to be involved in such future-looking concepts. End-users’ experiences are the driving force behind our research and our role is to understand these and translate them for the technical partners so that users are at the heart of system development.”
The year-long project started 1 September 2022 and is slated to end in August 2023. Consortium partners include SMPnet (lead), EDF Energy R&D Centre, Loughborough University, Oxfordshire County Council, Urbanomy UK and dcbel.
The project forms part of the V2X Innovation Programme, funded by the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero (DESNZ) and delivered by Innovate UK.