Kickstarting the Vehicle-to-Grid Integration Movement

July 14, 2020

Katie Fehrenbacher Senior Writer & Transportation Analyst

The long view on electric vehicles is that they can provide unique benefits for the power grid and for drivers if charged and managed in a smart and dynamic way. But for a long time, saying the acronym "V2G" (for "vehicle-to-grid") to a utility or automaker was the equivalent of talking about flying cars. But it looks like, at least in California, that's starting to change.

A couple of weeks ago, a group dubbed the Vehicle Grid Integration Working Group — which includes automakers, utilities, government agencies, nonprofits, and tech and infrastructure providers — released a report highlighting hundreds of ways that electric vehicles can immediately provide benefits today to the power grid, to consumers and to companies.

Some of those near-term benefits include lower monthly utility bills for EV-owning residents, ride-hail drivers and companies — a service that could be enabled by offering these groups new favorable rates for charging during certain times of day. When the charging of these electric fleets is managed in a smart way, it can also provide an on-demand energy asset for utilities.

The group identified 320 use cases for integrating EVs with the power grid that can "provide value now," including 240 applications for light-duty vehicles and 80 for electric trucks and buses. Eighty of those 320 use cases were focused on "V2G," which would enable the bidirectional flow of electrons and data between the vehicle and the grid.

The group also made a series of policy recommendations, such as reforming utility rates to include an "EV fleet commercial rate," that can help electric fleet owners and managers avoid the stiff demand charges that have been holding back the market. Other recommendations include funding pilot programs that use EVs as emergency backup power for homes and opening up V2G projects to current state incentives.

While the report is just one step to kick-starting the vehicle-to-grid market, it's a strong signal that the broad stakeholders that need to collaborate on this potentially complicated system are starting to get on the same page ...

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