Renault Starts V2G Charging Pilot Project in Utrecht

In a press release earlier today Renault announced:

Groupe Renault, the European leader in electric vehicles, is beginning the first large-scale pilot schemes in reversible electric charging. Our alternating-current technology has the particularity of placing the reversible charger inside vehicles, so it just requires a simple, inexpensive adaptation of the existing charging terminals.

A fleet of fifteen Zoe vehicles with vehicle-to-grid charging will be introduced in Europe over the course of 2019 to develop our future offerings in reversible charging and lay the groundwork for the future standards —with our partners’ help. These pilot schemes will begin today in Utrecht (the Netherlands) in an ecosystem developed by We Drive Solar and on Porto Santo Island (in the archipelago of Madeira, Portugal) with Empresa de Electricidade da Madeira, an energy supplier. Following these, more pilot schemes will be introduced in France, Germany, Switzerland, Sweden and Denmark.

It looks like we’ll have to (metaphorically of course) twist someone’s arm at Renault to let us try one or more of their modified Zoes with AC V2G capability! I was at the launch in Utrecht today and spoke to a variety of representatives from Renault Netherlands and Renault France, who by and large seemed amenable to the idea of a suitably funded UK pilot project. Renault’s press release was of course accompanied by a variety of images. However I took lots of pictures of my own, and a fair few videos too. Here’s the three Zoes that were lined up in Utrecht today:

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and here’s King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands driving away in one of them, accompanied by Robin Berg of We Drive Solar:

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Here too is a video recording of some of the excellent entertainment at the event, provided by the Hillsback Brassband:

Invigorated by the brilliant brass section here’s one of the press release infographics that I couldn’t snap for myself. Renault’s visualisation of vehicle-to-grid technology in action:

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2019 – Recharge bidirectionnelle

Charging during the day on the left. Discharging during the night on the right. Much like our very own V2G UK banner above! Renault’s press release continues:

Vehicle-to-grid charging — also called reversible charging — modulates the charging and discharging of electric-vehicle batteries in accordance with users’ needs and the grid’s supply of available electricity. Charging reaches its maximum level when the electricity supply exceeds demand, notably during peaks in production of renewable energy. But vehicles are also capable of injecting electricity into the grid during peaks in consumption. Electric vehicles can therefore serve units of temporary energy storage and become key drivers in the development of renewable energy. In this way, the electricity grid optimizes the supply of local renewable energy and reduces infrastructure costs. At the same time, customers enjoy greener, more economical consumption of electricity and are financially rewarded for serving the electricity grid.

Reversible charging will be piloted in several projects (electric ecosystems or mobility services) through seven countries and alongside various partners to lay the groundwork for Groupe Renault’s future offering. The aim is twofold: to measure large-scale feasibility and potential gains. In particular, these pilot schemes will help us:

  • Underline the technical and economic advantages of an onboard solution in electric vehicles
  • Demonstrate—in concrete terms—the value of services provided for the local and national electricity grid, such as encouraging consumption of solar and wind energy, checking the grid’s frequency or tension, and reducing infrastructure costs
  • Work on the regulatory frameworks of a mobile energy-storage scheme, detecting any pitfalls in it and offering concrete solutions
  • Establish common standards, the basic requirement for an industrial-scale roll-out.

I now have a few more videos of the event to go away and edit, but whilst those are being prepared here’s one that Renault provided earlier, illustrating both “Smart charging” and “Bidirectional smart charging”:

The Lights Go Out Again at V2G Towers

Our lights went out at 11:33 this morning, together with our telephone and “fibre to the premises” BT broadband. Fortunately we have backup for the latter two in the form of the by now ubiquitous mobile phones and this Huawei E5885L 4G mobile WiFi hotspot:

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The cause of the problem was an 11 kV cable that had become detached from an insulator and was dangling lower than designed:

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Initially we were one of 141 properties without power:

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By 12:20 our power came back on since WPD’s engineers had arrived and isolated a small section of their distribution grid just up the hill from here leaving just 6 properties on the edge of Davidstow Moor without mains electricity:

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They had their power restored somewhat later, at 13:50:

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We really must persuade our current landlord to let us install a 3 phase supply and full strength V2G technology to enable us to weather such storms much more smoothly in our converted barn.

New Kia Soul EV Ditches CHAdeMO For CCS

In a news release earlier today Kia announced that:

The all-new Kia Soul EV brings long-range, zero-tailpipe emissions power to the urban crossover class. The third globally-sold electric vehicle from Kia Motors will make its European debut at the 2019 Geneva International Motor Show next month.

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Not only that, but also:

The Kia Soul EV will be sold in Europe exclusively as an electric vehicle, with a choice of two fully-electric, zero-emission powertrains to meet the needs and budgets of different customers.

Drivers have a choice of long-range (64 kWh) and standard-range (39.2 kWh) powertrains. Whichever version a buyer chooses, both variants offer vastly improved range over the outgoing Soul EV. On-road performance is also enhanced, with significantly more powerful electric motors providing 395 Nm of torque – 39 per cent more than before.

As if that wasn’t exciting enough there’s also:

A Combined Charging System (CCS) DC fast charger is fitted as standard to both models, enabling shorter stops for charging. Both battery packs can be recharged from 20 per cent up to 80 per cent capacity in just 42 minutes from a 100 kW DC fast-charger.

Previous versions of the Soul EV have been V2G capable via a CHAdeMO connector. None of the images accompanying Kia’s announcement showed a close up of the shiny new Soul EV charging connector. Here’s the best we can do:

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The $64,000 question at this juncture is therefore “Will Kia be demonstrating V2G over CCS at Geneva next month?”

Nissan Announces the LEAF 3.ZERO

In a press release earlier this morning Nissan announced that:

Nissan has confirmed the evolution of the highly successful LEAF electric vehicle (EV) by launching two versions of the LEAF 3.ZERO. This new offer will broaden the appeal of EVs to more customers, and both models are ready to order from January 9, 2019.

Following a record-breaking year for Nissan electric vehicles, LEAF 3.ZERO brings to Europe’s best-selling electric vehicle a new 8-inch infotainment screen enabling additional connectivity services such as door-to-door navigation. An all-new and improved NissanConnect EV app will also be available when the LEAF 3.ZERO goes on sale in Europe.

The LEAF 3.ZERO – priced from £31,095 including the £3,500 UK Government Plug-in Car Grant – features the 40 kWh battery. New body colours and two-tone colour combinations will complete the choices. Customers can place their orders for LEAF 3.ZERO from now.

As you can see, other than the new colours the LEAF 3.0 looks a lot like the 2.0 flavour:

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The Nissan LEAF 3.ZERO e+ Limited Edition, priced from £36,795 including Government Grant, is also available to order from January 9. This limited edition – of which only 5,000 units will be produced for Europe – features a higher output capable of delivering 160 kW (217 PS) of power; 340Nm of torque; and a longer driving range expected to be up to 239 miles* from a single charge of the 62 kWh capacity battery.

Here’s a picture of the obviously highly desirable 62 kWh battery pack!

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Nissan’s press release continues:

Both 3.ZERO launch versions are flagship models for the 2019 Nissan LEAF, sitting at the top of their respective ranges.

At the centre of the LEAF 3.ZERO e+ Limited Edition is an Intelligent Power-enhanced high-capacity battery and more powerful motor.

On the road, the LEAF 3.ZERO e+ Limited Edition will deliver a 40% range increase over the LEAF 3.ZERO which is equipped with a 40 kWh battery. This represents more than 62 miles additional range for a comparable usage, a clear evolution of the LEAF.

Now as you might expect there’s already a #RapidGate style kerfuffle about the LEAF 3.0 on social media. See for example:

I phoned Nissan and a spokesperson informed me that the 2019 LEAF does not possess an active battery cooling system. That’s because:

In the UK the average Nissan LEAF is driven 35-40 miles per day.

I was assured that if you should live near John O’Groats and fancy a trip to visit V2G Towers down here in North Cornwall your friendly local neighbourhood Nissan dealer will still lend you a Nissan Qashqai for up to 2 weeks per year. Enough said? I expect not!

I was also assured that the “5,000 units for Europe” refers to the 3.ZERO e+ Limited Edition, and that more 2019 LEAFs with 62 kWh battery packs will become available in due course.

OVO Energy Install UK’s First V2G Home EV Chargepoint?

OVO Energy sent me a very nice birthday present yesterday via Twitter:

In an associated press release OVO announced:

Following the unveiling of the world’s first widely available, domestic vehicle-to-grid charger, at the Energy Technology Product Showcase in April, OVO can confirm it has successfully installed the first charger in a customer’s home.

Tom Pakenham, Director of Electric Vehicles, said: “We’re excited to install a vehicle-to-grid charger in a customer’s home. By developing vehicle-to-grid technology we’re enabling drivers to store renewable energy in their cars, use that to power their homes and to sell energy back to the grid at peak times, allowing our customers to earn rewards from smart charging their electric vehicle.”

By way of additional background information OVO added that:

The 6kW OVO Vehicle-to-Grid (V2G) Charger is the world’s first domestic bi-directional charger. It offers drivers of certain electric vehicles the opportunity to discharge excess electricity from their cars back to the electric grid to help supply energy at times of peak demand. It is the first such product to be produced and made commercially available at volume in the world.

Available to Nissan LEAF drivers with a 30 or 40kWh battery, the OVO Vehicle-to-Grid Charger could enable Nissan drivers to have free power for their electric vehicles by selling energy back to the grid. This is an important step for both companies to deliver their mission to offer customers free power for their electric vehicles.

This is part of the Innovate UK Vehicle-to-Grid competition, funded by the Office for Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV) and the department for Business Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), in partnership with Nissan, CENEX, Indra and OVO.

myenergi Launch Zappi 2.0

According to an article on the myenergi blog:

Last week, we had the unveiling of our newest flagship product – the new zappi range. The event was hosted at Millbank Tower overlooking the Thames and we were delighted to host some of the most influential people within the EV industry.

The stars of the show were the new zappi models: the single-phase, 7kW variant complete with its fresh makeover and the highly-anticipated three-phase, 22kW zappi– both available as tethered and untethered units. Details about the new soon to be released myenergi hub device and app, offering internet connectivity for remote control and live view of energy flow, were also presented to highlight the advancements of our exciting product range. As well as being able to perform as a regular charge point for customers who don’t have solar or wind on their property, these new exciting developments add significant value to our customers with grid-tied microgeneration systems – particularly when maximising the benefits of the zappi’s three different charging modes. The zappi maintains its ability to limit what grid supply it can take whilst looking to access any surplus green energy available, ensuring it remains the most eco and customer-friendly charge point on the market.

We have previously praised the virtues of the 7kW zappi, and now there’s a speedier 3 phase version too!

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Not only that, but also:

One particular highlight from the launch that will be music to the ears for all the installers out there is that the new zappi complies with the BS7671 18th Edition regulations which comes into force January 2019 and is currently the only charge point available where in most cases an earth rod is not required during the install – an installer’s dream!

Apparently myenergi is also an investor’s dream, since the article continues:

Sir Terry Leahy, myenergi investor and former CEO of Tesco, offered words of wisdom and highlighted the positive steps being taken as we remain proud flag-bearers at the forefront of the rEVolution and our friend at Evergreen Smart Power, Andy McKay, gave an exciting and insightful look into the future of green energy. Robert Llewellyn, the former Red Dwarf actor who now fronts the YouTube channel, Fully Charged, was present to champion our cause and we had further support from Fiona Howarth of Octopus Energy who discussed the successful partnership they have with the myenergi team.

myenergi are taking advance orders now, and manufacturing starts in January 2019. Whilst we wait to see a zappi 2.0 in the flesh, here’s the launch video:

Note that:

The zappi eco-smart charge point varies the charging rate in response to available power.

zappi can work alongside battery storage and is an easy retrofit into any home scenario.

Nissan, Kyushu Electric and ELEX Announce V2B Pilot Project

The following is based on Google’s translation of a Nissan press release currently only available in the original Japanese. Please forgive any inadvertent errors or omissions on my part!

Kyushu Electric Power Company Ltd., ELEX Corporation and Nissan Motor Company Ltd. have announced a pilot V2B project for corporate customers:

In January 2019 we will jointly start a V2B (Vehicle-to-Building) pilot project to reduce maximum power demand:

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In this project, we will provide a Nissan LEAF and bi-directional charging station to corporate customers in order to verify the effects of reducing customer’s demand by utilizing the electricity stored in electric vehicles batteries, and also use by the customer as an emergency power source.

Through this project, each company aims to acquire knowledge regarding the creation of new services utilizing EVs, and we will also consider future commercialization.

It looks as though peak shaving is the name of the game:

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Please watch this space for any further English language news about the project.

Nissan LEAF V2G Qualifies as a “Power Station” in Germany

In a press release earlier today Nissan proudly announced that:

An important milestone on the road to emission-free energy and mobility has been achieved by technology company The Mobility House, energy supplier ENERVIE, transmission system operator Amprion and car maker Nissan. With the Nissan Leaf and an innovative charging and energy management technology, the project partners have now succeeded in qualifying an electric car for all the TSO regulatory requirements for primary power regulation. This means that the car can be integrated as a regulating reserve for the German electricity grid – a breakthrough in the establishment of Vehicle-to-Grid (V2G) technology in Germany.

For some strange reason Nissan don’t mention the manufacturer of the V2G capable electric vehicle charging station displayed in their publicity pictures:

Nissan LEAF

Nissan 2018 LEAF and EVTEC V2G charging station

Those pretty white boxes look a lot like the EVTEC units we have mentioned previously here on the V2G UK blog. Nissan’s press release continues:

To meet the universal desire for a transition to decentralised energy generation from renewable sources here in Germany, new and innovative solutions for stabilising the electricity grid are necessary. The increasing use of renewable energy leads to fluctuations in the grid, which must be initially balanced by primary regulation, able to prevent impending power cuts at a second’s notice.

Electric cars such as the Nissan Leaf, with integrated bidirectional charging technology, could play an important part in this. With its CHAdeMO charging connector, the Leaf is able not only to extract power from the grid and store it in its traction battery, but, if necessary, also to feed power back. This is called the Vehicle-to-Grid (V2G) concept.

As luck would have it here at V2G UK we are very familiar with the V2G concept and CHAdeMO connectors. In fact our V2G EVSE subsidiary has recently received an Office for Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV for short) grant to assess the feasibility of using such technology on the streets of Plymouth, Exeter and Falmouth in order to provide flexibility services to Western Power Distribution’s electricity grid over here, and thereby defer expensive reinforcement of South West England’s distribution grid. Here’s a close up of the Vehicle-to-Grid Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment for (V2G EVSE for short) in ENERVIE‘s car park over in Hagen:

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EVTEC Vehicle-to-Grid capable charging station

whilst here’s our concept for the inner city streets of Devon and Cornwall, Urban Electric‘s UEone “pop up” charging post:

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According to Guillaume Pelletreau, the Vice President and Managing Director of Nissan Center Europe:

We strongly believe in an emission-free future. Accordingly, we are also very proud that the Nissan Leaf has, as the first electric car ever, been approved as suitable for stabilising grid frequencies. LEAF batteries could make an important contribution to energy transition in Germany and a sustainable future.

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Nissan LEAF in ENERVIE’s car park in Hagen

Here at V2G UK we strongly believe that Nissan LEAF traction batteries could make an important contribution to the energy transition and a sustainable future here in the United Kingdom.

Wallbox Announces the “First ever DC charger for the home”

I don’t recall ever being quite so excited reading a press release. I’m afraid I’ve been far too busy here in the UK to travel to China this week to work on EV charging station standards, as I originally planned a few months ago. I’m still far too busy even to travel to the eMove360° conference and trade fair in Munich today. Which is something of a pity since I’d like to take a very close look at this device in the flesh, so to speak:

DC-Wallbox

The Wallbox press release I’ve recently been reading contains a few interesting pieces of background information for we V2G watchers here in the UK, such as:

Research, technical development, product testing and manufacturing take place in Barcelona, where Wallbox has strong engineering resource and capacity to produce 100,000 chargers per year.

The company is Spanish but the brand is international. Wallbox operations are solely conducted in English. It began UK operations in September 2018.

not to mention:

Wallbox operates in 30 markets around Europe and overseas as far as New Zealand and China. Wallbox is partner to major automotive OEMs and energy companies. The company is approaching 20,000 installations across all markets and sees the UK as one of its most important growth opportunities. The company is 80-strong and growing, with over half of the workforce involved in software and hardware development. Many employees have made the transition from IT to automotive, coming from the likes of Apple and Tesla, which in part accounts for the unique design quality.

Moving on to Wallbox’s shiny new black box pictured above, let’s take a look at the basic specification first. According to the press release:

All Wallbox chargers are rated up to 22 kW, suitable for domestic and commercial installation and connect to the myWallbox energy management platform. This enables scheduling to take advantage of time and use tariffs, energy balancing between vehicle and the home, and a host of other easily accessible features. Wallbox chargers have connectivity through WiFi, Ethernet or Bluetooth.

Presumably that 22 kW applies to the DC black box as well in which case it can handle three phase, and if the entire Wallbox range can connect to an energy management system (EMS for short) somewhere in the clouds I’d like to take a very close look at all the other AC boxes as well! Sticking with DC for now though:

The new DC charger puts energy created and stored in the home, straight into the electric vehicle through a CCS or ChaDeMo connector. Home generation and storage are now becoming much more cost effective considerations as electric vehicle range and battery size increase and reduce ROI timescales.

The charger’s unique bi-directional power electronics reconcile the alternating (AC) and direct (DC) energy that flows between vehicle charging, rooftop PV generation or garden wind turbines, and home battery storage.

Wallbox are talking just the sort of language we like to hear when discussing our “Static & Mobile Distributed Energy Storage” (SaMDES) project, and they have even uttered the magic words “bi-directional power electronics”. This sounds like pukka vehicle-to-home capable kit, so the next obvious question from our North Cornwall perspective is “when will it start shipping to the UK?”

First sales are planned for mid 2019

A minor disappointment there then, but yesterday I did manage to speak at length with Stewart Mckee who is Director of Wallbox UK. He assures me that the black box on display in Munich today isn’t just an empty shell. It is in fact “production ready”. That being the case I cannot wait to experiment with plugging one into the CHAdeMO connector at the front of one of Nissan’s new 40 kWh e-NV200 vans, which we test drove for three days following the recent Cornwall New Energy EV event in Wadebridge:

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As if all that wasn’t exciting enough there’s more where that came from!

Wallbox is also making it easier to manage electric vehicle charging at home. The company is introducing software that allows spoken commands, and cognitive intelligence that learns about an owner’s charging behaviour and preferences, in order to predict optimum energy balance with home and grid.

This unique two-tier combination of software technologies means that you can speak directly to your home charging system and it will interpret your requirements in the most energy efficient manner. For instance, you can simply say: ‘I need my car fully charged for the morning’ and Wallbox will take care of the rest, with consideration for all other home energy demands during the same period of charging.

The ability for Wallbox software to automatically manage charging in this way adds another smart layer to dynamic load balancing between between vehicle and the home, and vehicles parked in the same area.

Please forgive me, but after all that excitement I need to go and lie down now. However make sure to watch this space, because we’re hoping to have a chat with Wallbox’s CEO Enric Asunción real soon now.

CHAdeMO and GB/T Join Forces!

In a press release yesterday the CHAdeMO Association made a most interesting announcement. Here is what they said:

CHAdeMO Association announced today their decision to jointly develop the next generation Ultra-Fast charging standard with China Electricity Council (hereafter CEC), China’s official association of utilities in charge of their national regulations and standards related to electricity. Two entities will sign a Memorandum of Understanding on August 28th in Beijing, China, to kick-start their collaboration.

  • CHAdeMO signs an MoU with China Electricity Council (CEC) for co-development of next generation ultra-fast EV charging standard
  • New ultra-fast charging standard will ensure backward compatibility with both current CHAdeMO and GB/T standards, in order not to penalize current EV users
  • Both Japanese and Chinese governments support this industry initiative, which is expected to lead the way towards a single harmonised future standard

CHAdeMO protocol, a Direct Current fast charging standard recognised by the IEC* and the most popular international standard with over 18,500 charging points covering the EV market worldwide, set its specification at 500V and 125A when it was initially defined in 2009. After updates in 2017 and 2018, its current specification goes up to 1000V and 400A to cater to the market demand.

CEC, a Government approved association in charge of starndardisation of EV charging equipment. is evaluating high-power charging technologies and promoting demo projects and pilot studies for the creation of a new, Ultra-Fast charging standard to prepare for the expected market needs in the future. CHAdeMO Association and CEC reached an agreement to jointly proceed with such development.

This joint development should lead to a next-generation Ultra-Fast charging technology that is safe and versatile. As the new Ultra-Fast charging standard aims to ensure interoperability with existing CHAdeMO and GB/T fast charging standards, it is also expected that the new standard will be adopted not only in Japan and China but also in many other EV markets worldwide, and to contribute to the further roll-out of EV charging network.

That potentially makes life easier for those of us beavering away behind the scenes developing international standards for electric vehicle charging. Here’s what the current “rapid charging” 50 kW CHAdeMO connector looks like in action:

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From a slightly different perspective, CHAdeMO’s Secretary General Dave Yoshida said:

We are pleased to work together with CEC to develop an ultra-fast charging standard to prepare for the future charging needs, while ensuring safety and interoperability, which is a core value of CHAdeMO protocol. We believe the outcome of this joint development will pave the way towards a single harmonised standard in the future.

The members of CharIN group who are developing the competing Combined Charging System “standard” might well quibble over Dave’s “single harmonised standard” remark, since their stated mission is:

Establishing the Combined Charging System (CCS) as the global standard for charging battery powered electric vehicles.

The CHAdeMO Association press release continues:

This joint development falls into one of the strategic categories defined as “Enhancing international harmonisation in vehicle electrification policies” in the Japanese government’s New Strategy for the automobile industry, which was recently announced by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, and will be strongly supported by both the Japanese and Chinese governments.

The Memorandum of Understanding aims to kick-start harmonisation for the next-generation international charging standard, for accelerating further deployment of electrified vehicles in wider vehicle categories, by starting the joint development activities based on the cutting-edge technologies foreseeable in the near term as an initial step.

As an apparent afterthought they finally point out that:

*IEC: International Electrotechnical Commission

As an afterthought from us here at V2G UK in Cornwall’s (Silic)Inny Valley, here’s a 2018 Nissan LEAF charging from a standard UK 3 pin socket in our courtyard:

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Perhaps the CHAdeMO Association and/or the CEC could lend us a suitably “ultra-fast charging standard” equipped vehicle for future such tests?