Plymouth City Council is taking part in a trial that will enable its existing fleet of electric vehicles (EVs) to take electricity from the grid and release it back when not in use.
It has partnered with E-Flex, a vehicle-to-grid (V2G) demonstration project led by Cisco, to make EVs “more practical and commercially viable” as part of a broader local energy strategy.
The city council has set a goal of becoming carbon neutral by 2030.
The trial, which will see the city council’s existing fleet of Nissan Leafs equipped with bi-directional chargers, is expected to help relieve pressure at times of peak usage on the local grid and prepare the existing charging infrastructure for an increase in the number of EVs.
It will enable vehicles to charge at times of lower demand when energy is cheaper and release it back at times of higher demand when it is more expensive.
The trial aims to demonstrate the role V2G can play in reducing the demand that EVs put on the energy networks, while proving the economic benefits for commercial fleet owners.
Dan Turner, Low Carbon City Officer at Plymouth City Council said: “Plymouth is a particularly strained part of the grid, with Cornwall generating a lot of renewable energy but delivering this further up the country at times of high demand.
“For businesses to grow, we need to find new ways to support their energy consumption whilst reducing connection costs across the city so the V2G concept appeals to us from a grid management perspective as well as a commercial one.”
The trial partners include Cenex, Nuvve, the Greater London Authority, Transport for London, Imperial College London and the E-Car Club.
E-Flex is part of a competition funded by the Office for Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV) and the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), in partnership with Innovate UK.