Electric Nation Vehicle to Grid’s (V2G) UK trial, aiming to demonstrate how V2G technology can provide a solution to potential electricity grid capacity issues, is to partner with Wallbox.

The trial introduces Wallbox’s Quasar innovation, a small and light bi-directional charger for home use.

By using Quasar, EVs can put energy back into the grid at peak times, supporting national energy demand. The technology reduces the need for extra electricity generation or network reinforcement.

Electric Nation Vehicle to Grid – a project of Western Power Distribution (WPD), in partnership with CrowdCharge – is recruiting 100 Nissan EV owners in the WPD licence areas of the Midlands, South West and South Wales to take part in the trial of Vehicle to Grid smart charging technology. Currently, only Nissan EVs can be used for V2G charging due to their CHAdeMO technology.

The V2G trial follows the first Electric Nation project from 2018/19, which at the time was the world’s largest EV smart charging trial. The trial captured data from more than 2m hours of car charging, providing real life insight into people’s habits when charging vehicles. 

The Electric Nation Vehicle to Grid trial is offering free installation of the V2G smart chargers worth GBP5,500 (US$7,100) to Nissan EV drivers, who live in the three WPD regions. CrowdCharge is recruiting 100 people for the trial to help Distribution Network Operators (DNOs) and others understand how V2G charging could work with their electricity networks.

The Quasar bidirectional charger will debut in the UK. The Wallbox Quasar V2G charger has also been approved by Nissan for use with the Leaf and the e-NV200 electric vehicles.

In addition to providing charging capabilities for EVs, Quasar allows owners to pull energy from their car’s battery and transfer it into the grid – a capability referred to as Vehicle to Grid or V2G – letting users generate extra income by selling energy back to the grid.

The Quasar also has the ability to allow users to power their own homes, known as Vehicle to Home or V2H, effectively converting their EVs into an energy storage unit that can replace or add capacity to a battery wall, or turn their EV into an emergency power source, enabling EV owners to become energy self-sufficient.

“We are very excited to be part of the Electric Nation Vehicle to Grid trial so we can demonstrate how electric vehicles can play an important role in our electricity system,” said Wallbox co-founder and chief product officer, Eduard Castañeda.

“Quasar can help the electricity grid and can also generate income for EV drivers. Although this trial is all about simulating the future, the V2G charging technology exists today.”

Electric Nation Vehicle to Grid is different to other V2G projects because it is using up to five different energy suppliers instead of one. This means the trial is a more realistic simulation of a future world in which many streets will have a number of EVs using V2G chargers operated by different energy suppliers.

During the one-year trial, each supplier will use their chargers to test their various energy services utilising CrowdCharge’s demand management charger platform, which provides optimised charging sessions.

By plugging in at specified times and putting energy back into the grid, active participants of the Electric Nation Vehicle to Grid project are expected to earn a minimum reward up to the monetary value of GBP120, available during the one-year trial period from March, 2021 to March, 2022.

More than 400 EV drivers have applied to join Electric Nation so far, however, recruitment remains open to ensure the project secures 100 participants, who meet all the eligibility criteria.

Trial applicants:

• Must be resident in the Western Power Distribution (WPD) licence area (Midlands, South West and South Wales)

• Must have a Nissan EV with a battery capacity of at least 30kWh or more

• Need to have the vehicle until the end of the trial (March, 2022)

• Need to have off-road parking

• Will use the CrowdCharge mobile app to manage charging

• May need to switch to a new energy tariff if required by their assigned project energy supplier

• May need to have a new smart meter put in/updated as part of the project participation.

Although the application process for the Electric Nation Vehicle to Grid project is now open, the timescale for charger installations is subject to confirmation based on government advice in relation to COVID-19.