Tesla Files SaMDES Patent Application

Regular readers with long memories may recall that way back when in November 2017 we here at V2G UK announced the launch of our Static and Mobile Distributed Energy Storage project? Those readers can no doubt imagine my surprise when I recently discovered an article by Sebastian Blanco in Forbes magazine announcing that:

There’s the grid, the evolving smart grid and then there’s no grid at all. That’s the paradigm that Tesla is exploring in a new patent application, Number 16/186390, which calls for controlling energy generation interactions (solar roofs, anyone? ) that bypass the electric grid.

Here’s the monochrome graphic that Sebastian extracted from Tesla’s patent application:

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To my way of thinking that’s remarkably similar to the left and central portions of the much more colourful “prior art” in the banner that’s been proudly displayed at the top of every page on this web site for many years now. Do you suppose that Elon Musk is an avid reader of the V2G UK web site? If so perhaps he first arrived here way back in 2014 when I took Tesla’s marketing mavens to task over their propensity to be “economical with the truth” concerning open source electric vehicles.

Tesla’s recent US patent application includes the following paragraph:

This application is a continuation application of U.S. patent application Ser. No. 15/153,037 entitled “ENERGY GENERATION INTERACTIONS BYPASSING THE GRID,” filed on May 12, 2016, which is herein incorporated by reference in its entirety for all purposes.

That seems to refer to this 2018 patent assigned to “SolarCity Corporation, San Mateo, CA”. Does the US patent office by any chance have a number to call to advise them of occurrences of “patenting the bleedin’ obvious”?

Exhibit 1: https://web.archive.org/web/20140606031404/http://www.v2g.co.uk:80/blog/

Octopus and Ohme Announce a Smart Cable

This is a piece of electric vehicle smart charging (V1G for short) news rather than directly related to vehicle-to-grid technology. It is extremely interesting nonetheless. In a press release this morning it was announced that:

Octopus Energy and Ohme are today announcing a partnership to offer Octopus Energy customers the chance to have smart charging at home – enabling them to charge any electric car when Octopus’s green electricity is cheapest.

By integrating with Agile Octopus, the UK’s only smart time-of-use tariff, the Ohme cable and app brings smart charging to any home.

Here’s the image of Ohme’s new “smart cable” that accompanied the press release:

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The press release continues:

Once the cable is connected, the driver can just open up the app and enter the amount they would like to charge their car and by when, and then let Ohme manage it for them. For example: “On weekdays, charge my car battery to 100% by 7am”. Ohme then uses the Octopus Agile API to automatically deliver the right amount of electricity when it is cheapest.

By optimising their charging in this smart way, Octopus Energy and Ohme estimate that customers using Ohme in parallel with the Agile Octopus tariff could save around £300 per year on their charging costs in comparison to charging on a typical industry standard variable tariff.

The cable will cost £399, but the first 1,000 Octopus Energy customers get a special launch price of £199.

The Ohme cable is available for pre-order on the Octopus Energy web site. Whilst we wait for them to start shipping the new product, here’s an image of the Ohme app in action:

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According to Ohme’s CEO, David Watson:

At Ohme we believe the future of transport is electric and that flexible home charging is the key to mass adoption. Ohme’s innovative smart charging cable is the first App-controlled, intelligent EV charger, that combined with Octopus’ smart energy tariffs, delivers real savings and environmental benefits. All you need to do is plug in and let Ohme do the rest.

I cannot help but think that the likes of Wallbox might well quibble with David’s “first app-controlled, intelligent EV charger” remark? The press release didn’t include a telephone number, but we’ll let you know Ohme’s thoughts on the matter when we manage to get hold of them.

 

[Edit – March 30th]

After desperately doing my due diligence I eventually managed to have a long chat with Ohme’s technical guru, Dan Hollingworth, yesterday evening. As I strongly suspected, the Ohme “smart cable” isn’t actually that smart, by V2G UK’s standards at least. It contains a microprocessor and a 4G modem, not unlike our sister company V2G EVSE’s “smart controller” except that it doesn’t optionally do WiFi, Bluetooth, 2.5 G, 3G, LTE-M and NB-IoT as well.

Ohme’s device doesn’t determine the electric vehicle (EV for short) battery pack’s state of charge by communicating with the EV through the cable. Instead it finds out that useful piece of information by using its 4G modem to communicate with assorted EV original equipment manufacturer’s (OEM for short) cloud platforms, which in turn communicate wirelessly with the EV the Ohme’s cable is plugged into using proprietary protocols.

Ohme’s cloud platform is somewhat smarter since it communicates with National Grid’s Application Programming Interface (API for short) to forecast the “carbon intensity” of the UK Grid and thus determine the “greenness” of the electricity used to charge the EV to which the “smart cable” is attached. Here’s the current output of our open source example of how to go about doing that, generated by the V2G EVSE smart controller:

Screenshot from 2019-03-30 10-05-54

Ohme’s cloud platform also determines the price of electricity on Octopus Energy’s Agile or Go tariffs by communicating with the Octopus Energy API

Ohme’s smartphone application (app for short) allows the EV’s owner to instruct Ohme’s cloud based platform how much charge they’d like in their EV battery pack by when. On the basis of all the information Ohme’s cloud based platform has acquired it then uses version 1.6 of the Open Charge Point Protocol (OCPP for short) to instruct the cable when and how fast to charge the EV it’s connected to. In case it’s of interest here’s our open source smart charging station simulator, based on a mildly modified clone of Thomas Volden’s OCPP 1.6 library over on GitHub:

https://github.com/V2G-Ltd/OCPP-1.6-EVSE-Demo

Does that all make perfect sense now?

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:

2019 - Recharge bidirectionnelle

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”:

Volkswagen’s New eMobility Roadmap

On the first day of V2G UK’s trip to The Netherlands I attended EVBox’s rEVolution 2019 event in Amsterdam. Here’s EVBox’s own brief overview of the event:

and here’s yours truly during a quiet interlude at the entrance to the Gashouder Westergasfabriek:

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In the first of several reports from Amsterdam, here’s what Martin Römheld of Volkswagen revealed in the final keynote speech:

Here are a few of the key points from Martin’s presentation:

My smallest daughter, she’s 3 years now, so by 2090 she’s probably going to be 74. So that means this is not a far distant scenario. I know people now who are spilling their breakfast all over them who will have to live on that planet by 2090:

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Martin was referring to his animation of two alternative Representative Concentration Pathways (RCPs for short). RCP 2.6 on the left “assumes that global annual greenhouse gas emissions peak between 2010–2020, with emissions declining substantially thereafter”, whereas RCP 8.5 on the right “assumes that global GHG emissions continue to rise throughout the 21st century”.

For VW I can tell you, and I think you can read that from the papers and the news currently they’re really doing a paradigm shift. The top management is really turning around the company big time. The “dieselgate” that Roger mentioned was definitely a facilitator in that. Something had to happen, and it’s really happening now. It caused a lot of fear. It caused a lot of movement, but it’s absolutely necessary.

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Volkswagen’s “new paradigm” includes a “commitment to the climate goals of the Paris Agreement“.

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Here you can see the greenhouse gas emissions by different sectors. I’ve singled out the two that we have an influence on. We are part of the industry, so within the value chain and the production of the vehicle we have a big influence on that section, and of course with our products and the services we provide to our customers we have a big impact on the other 14%, the emissions while the vehicle are being used.

Moving on from VW’s aspirations to some engineering, Martin pointed out that:

The question is “How much energy is contained in one litre of diesel?”. Very few people know that. It’s about 10 kWh, so 6 litres of diesel are the equivalent of 60 kWh of energy. So how far will that takes us? With a diesel car, if you have a moderate driving style, it will take you about 100 km… With an EV you go four times that far. And that’s the discussion we have to take. It’s not a question about how much more electricity do we consume, it’s a question about how much less energy do we consume.

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When it comes to reducing the energy consumption of “personal mobility” by a factor of four, here are Volkswagen Group’s plans. Firstly an overview of their “Modularer E-Antriebs-Baukasten” (MEB) Platform:

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which will form the basis for their forthcoming I.D. series of electric vehicles:

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Much like Nissan and Renault, VW also plan to go into the energy business with the Elli brand:

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They even intend to supply their own wallboxes to charge their forthcoming range of electric vehicles:

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Do you suppose that Elon Musk is losing any sleep over the nascent competition to Tesla emanating from the Old World?

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.

1680430_kia_pressrelease_2018_PRESS-HIGHRES_ESOUL_side

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:

1680428_kia_pressrelease_2018_PRESS-HIGHRES_ESOUL_front-white

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:

Exterior_03

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!

62kWh_Battery_181107_02

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!

Zappi-2.0

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:

Nissan-Kyushu-01

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:

Nissan-Kyushu-02

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