Hurricane Irma Power Outages

The power outages in Texas caused by the recent passage of Hurricane Harvey haven’t all been repaired yet. Now a whole lot more people next door in Florida are finding themselves without electricity thanks to the arrival of Hurricane Irma. According to the latest update on Irma from the United States’ National Hurricane Center:

The center of Hurricane Irma made landfall at Cudjoe Key in the
lower Florida Keys at 9:10 am EDT. A gust to 106 mph (171 km/h)
was just reported at the National Key Deer Refuge in Big Pine Key.

LOCATION…24.7N 81.5W

Here’s how Irma looked from the Suomi satellite whilst crossing the Straits of Florida:

and here’s a NOAA video showing Irma making landfall at Cudjoe Key:

This is the National Hurricane Center’s storm surge forecast for the next three days:

The red area represents a greater than 10% chance of a surge of nine feet and over. Finally, for the moment at least, here’s Irma’s current forecast track from slightly earlier in the day:

Already over 750,000 premises across Florida are without electric power.


[Edit – September 11th]

Here’s a video from ABC about the effects of Hurricane Irma on Florida’s electricity distribution infrastructure:

Another video in which Rob Gould of Florida Power and Light says:

What we will see on the west coast is a wholesale rebuild of our electric grid.

At 9 AM this morning British Summer time the lights have started going out in Georgia, and over 4.5 million premises across Florida are without electric power.


[Edit – September 11th PM]

Florida Governor Rick Scott reports on the impact of what is now Tropical Storm Irma:

There are now over 6.5 million premises across Florida, Georgia and the Carolinas without electric power.

2018 Nissan LEAF Revealed

The speculation is over. The new Nissan LEAF has been revealed. Here’s a picture of it:

and here’s a video showing it in action:

According to the Nissan press release:

The Nissan LEAF has been completely reinvented, combining greater range with a dynamic new design and advanced technologies*, representing Nissan’s technological leadership.

“The new Nissan LEAF drives Nissan Intelligent Mobility, which is the core brand strategy for Nissan’s future,” said Hiroto Saikawa, president and chief executive officer of Nissan. “The new Nissan LEAF, with its improved range, combined with the evolution of autonomous drive technology such as ProPILOT Park, and the simple operation of the e-Pedal, strengthens Nissan’s EV leadership as well as the expansion of EVs globally. It also has core strengths that will be embodied by future Nissan models.”

Although the main press release doesn’t mention the fact the new LEAF does of course still incorporate V2G technology. However another press release does point out that:

Nissan’s pioneering vision of the potential of electric vehicles doesn’t stop at powering the new Nissan LEAF. The car’s batteries can also be used as mobile energy devices.

Vehicle-to-Grid (V2G) technology combines two-way charging allowing electric vehicles to be fully integrated into the electricity grid. It helps improve the capability to handle non-programmable renewable energy flows, making renewable sources even more widely integrated and affordable. The system works by allowing Nissan EV owners to connect to the grid to play an active role in grid services, while providing the opportunity for an alternate source of income. Once scaled up, the V2G technology will be a game-changer for owners of Nissan electric vehicles as they become active participants in the energy market.

Working towards a more sustainable society means making better choices every day. xStorage, energy storage system, draws on the collective experience of the industry’s best to make home energy consumption more efficient and more sustainable. xStorage Home stores energy at the most economical times of the day while controlling how and when that energy is put to use, saving customers money and improving the entire energy system. It seamlessly integrates all the hardware and software needed to manage and store all of the energy the home needs in a single unit. Used to provide Grid services, xStorage Home could charge from the grid or discharge to the grid in order to generate the flexibility needed to further increase the usage of renewable energy.

Yet another press release points out that:

The new Nissan LEAF links drivers, vehicles and communities through the user-friendly NissanConnect feature and systems that share power between electric vehicles and homes, buildings and power grids.

Using vehicle-to-home systems, the battery makes it possible to store surplus solar power during the daytime and then use it to help power the home in the evening. The customer can also recharge the battery in the middle of the night, when prices are lowest in some markets, and then use the electricity during the day to reduce energy costs.

All this is of course music to our ears at V2G UK, but there is still a fly in our ointment. When will UK owners of Nissan electric vehicles be able to play an active role in grid services by becoming active participants in our antiquated energy markets?

And what of the new LEAF battery pack? Here’s a picture of that:

According to the main press release once again:

The new Nissan LEAF offers a range of 400 km (Japan JC08 cycle**), allowing drivers to enjoy a safer and longer journey. The new e-powertrain gives the new Nissan LEAF 110 kW of power output and 320 Nm of torque, improving acceleration and driver enjoyment.

** 150 miles with EPA, 380 km with NEDC, both subject to homologation.

For customers who want more excitement and performance, Nissan will also offer a version with more power and longer range at a higher price in 2018 (timing may vary by market).

So it’s 40 kWh in the short term then, and perhaps the rumoured 60 kWh in the not too distant future?

The new Nissan LEAF will go on sale Oct. 2 in Japan. The model is slated for deliveries in January 2018 in the U.S., Canada and Europe.

Now I cannot help but wonder when Nissan will announce a 40 kWh version of the e-NV200. I also cannot help but wonder whether UK energy markets will get a matching upgrade in 2018?

P.S. The inimitable Robert Llewellyn reports from the 2018 LEAF launch near Tokyo:

P.P.S. It seems that our prayers have been answered! According to Pedro Lima at PushEVs:

Thanks to chrissy, a Nissan dealer and active member of the German forum Going Electric we now know that the electric van from Nissan will finally get its range increased in the spring of next year. According to chrissy, since yesterday it’s no longer possible to order the current model year (MY), because the new one with better range is coming soon.

Hurricane Harvey Power Outages

Major Hurricane Harvey reached category 4 before landfall on the coast of Texas last night. Apart from numerous other forms of damage a large number of properties will lose their supply of electric power over the next few hours and days. In advance of Harvey’s arrival The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT for short) issued a press release, which read as follows:

AUSTIN, TX, Aug. 25, 2017 – The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) has issued a weather-related watch in preparation for Hurricane Harvey, which is expected to make landfall late Friday night or early Saturday morning.

ERCOT anticipates the hurricane may cause damage to infrastructure from high-speed wind, along with significant flooding in the South, South Central and Coastal weather zones in the ERCOT region. This includes the cities of Houston, Corpus Christi, Brownsville, Austin and San Antonio. These conditions may cause a number of power outages throughout the ERCOT region.

The ERCOT System Operations team is working 24/7 at ERCOT’s System Control Center, which is built to withstand hurricane-force winds, to monitor the situation and protect overall system reliability. Extra engineering staff will be supporting their efforts throughout the weekend.

ERCOT also has been communicating with transmission and generation owners regarding hurricane preparations. Generation owners are implementing their own hurricane procedures to ensure the safety of their staff and equipment.

ERCOT remains focused on maintaining system reliability throughout the entire ERCOT region. At this time, ERCOT anticipates it will have sufficient generation available during the hurricane, while storm-related damage is expected to result in widespread power outages.

Please visit for updates throughout the weekend. This site includes Frequently Asked Questions as well as helpful contact information.

Researchers from Michigan, Ohio State and Texas A & M Universities have created a model to predict power outages (as they’re referred to in the United States) resulting from Harvey’s passage. Here’s their current forecast:

Currently over 200,000 properties in Texas are without electric power as a result of Harvey. That number will increase! Here’s some example outage maps at the moment (09:00 UTC):


[Edit – August 26th 12:00]


[Edit – August 26th 15:00]

ERCOT report via Twitter that:


[Edit – August 27th 12:00]

Power outages across Texas dropped below a quarter of a million overnight, but have now risen again to over 260,000. There has been a large increase in the region powered by CenterPoint Energy:

A problem that we’re all too familiar with here in South West England is that power outages can lead to communications outages. The United states’ Federal Communications Commission has issued a report on the effects of Hurricane Harvey on the cellphone infrastructure in Texas:

The following is a report on the status of communications services in geographic areas impacted by Hurricane Harvey as of August 26, 2017 at 10:30 a.m. EDT. This report incorporates network outage data submitted by communications providers to the Federal Communications Commission’s Disaster Information Reporting System (DIRS). DIRS currently covers areas of Texas and Louisiana. Note that the operational status of communications services during a disaster may evolve rapidly, and this report represents a snapshot in time.

While we don’t have reports for all counties yet, there are at least 149,909 subscribers out of service in the affected area. This includes users who get service from cable system or wireline providers. There are 5 switching centers out of service and 38 switching centers on back-up power.

There are 4% of the cell sites down in the affected area. The counties with greater than 50% of cell sites out are Aransas, Refugio, and San Patricio in TX. There are no cell sites affected in LA.

The FCC also reports that:

The Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau (PSHSB) learns the status of each Public Safety Answering Point (PSAP) through the filings of 911 Service Providers in the Disaster Information Reporting System (DIRS), through reporting done to the FCC’s Public Safety Support Center (PSSC), coordination with state 911 Administrators and, if necessary, individual PSAPs. There are a total of 9 PSAPs affected:

Portland Police Department, TX is down with no re-routes.
Calhoun County Sheriff, TX is up without Automatic Location Information (ALI).
Port Aransas Police Department, TX; Cameron Parish Sheriff’s Office, LA; Victoria Police Department, TX; Mathis Police Department, TX; Refugio County Sheriff’s Office, TX; Ingleside Police, TX; and Robstown Police Department, TX have either been re-routed to administrative lines or re-routed to another PSAP.
Cameron Parish Sheriff’s Office and Victoria Police Department have been re-routed with ALI, all other re-routes are without ALI.

There are 5 radio stations out of service: TX – WKNC, KKTX, KUNO, KKWV, and KAYK
There are no TV stations reported as being out of service.


[Edit – August 27th 22:30]

There are currently still over 300,000 power outages across Texas. This rainfall radar map shows that the Houston area is still enduring very high rates of precipitation:


[Edit – August 28th 09:30]

The number of reported outages has dropped overnight (UTC), but there are still over 250,000 “customers” without electric power in Texas, plus some more in Louisiana. Here’s the current Entergy Texas outage map as Harvey heads back towards the Gulf of Mexico:

The FCC reported yesterday that:

There are a total of 17 (up from 9 yesterday) PSAPs affected:

PSAP down with no re-route: Portland Police Department, TX.
PSAP up without Automatic Location Identification (ALI): Calhoun County Sheriff, TX.
PSAP re-routed without ALI: Aransas County SO, TX; Bee PD, TX; Beeville PD, TX; Kingsville PD, TX; Kleberg County SO, TX; Mathis PD, TX; Port Aransas PD, TX; Refugio County SO, TX; and Ingleside PD, TX.
PSAP re-routed with ALI: Aransas Pass PD, TX; Cameron Parish SO, LA; Richmond PD, TX; Robstown PD, TX; Victoria PD, TX; and Wilson County SO, TX.

There are 4.1% of the cell sites down in the affected area. The counties with greater than 50% of cell sites out are Aransas, Calhoun, Refugio, and San Patricio in TX. There are no cell sites affected in LA.


[Edit – August 28th 15:00]

Reported outages are heading for 300,000 again whilst Texas wakes up to further flooding as Harvey heads back to the coast:


[Edit – August 29th 09:00]

Reported outages have dropped somewhat overnight, as the centre of Tropical Storm Harvey is now over the Gulf of Mexico once again:

Yesterday evening local time ERCOT issued the following statement:

The ERCOT grid continues to be in stable condition following Hurricane Harvey. However, several transmission lines remain out of service, especially near Corpus Christi and Victoria where Hurricane Harvey made landfall.

Two major 345-kV transmission lines serving the Gulf Coast area are still out of service, along with many other high-voltage transmission lines. As of mid-day today, a little more than 6,700 MW of generation capacity, including a very small percentage of renewables, was off-line for reasons related to the storm.

Electricity demand in the days since landfall has been about 20,000 megawatts (MW) below typical August electricity use, peaking at less than 44,000 MW, due to a combination of structural damage along the coast and cooler temperatures in much of the region.

The FCC reported yesterday that:

There are 4.7% of the cell sites down in the affected area, up from 4.1% yesterday. The counties with greater than 50% of cell sites out are Aransas, Calhoun, and Refugio in TX. Plaquemines is the only county in LA reporting any cell sites out.


[Edit – August 29th 12:00]

As a new day dawns in Texas reported outages are increasing once again. Over 270,000 in Texas plus ~5,000 so far in Lousiana:


[Edit – August 30th 10:00]

The latest forecast from the United States’ National Hurricane Center shows that at long last Harvey will move inland and dissipate:

Rainfall radar reveals that the rain has stopped falling over Houston:

The power outages continue however. There’s still over a quarter of a million properties without power in Texas, with a few thousand more in both Louisiana and Mississippi. Whilst we wait to see when the number of outages starts to reduce significantly, here’s a rainfall radar animation of Harvey’s progress so far:

The FCC reported yesterday that:

There are 4.7% of the cell sites down in the affected area, the same as yesterday. The counties with greater than 50% of cell sites out are Aransas and Refugio in Texas. In Louisiana, Calcasieu, St. John the Baptist, and Terrebonne are the only parishes to report any cell site outages, with each having only one cell site out.


[Edit – August 30th 15:00]

Power outages due to ex Hurricane Harvey are back up over 300,000:

Watch this space!

An Exeter Nissan e-NV200 Heads North

The United Kingdom Government have finally seen the light and have pledged to pump £20 million into vehicle-to-grid technology:

Up to £20 million is available from the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy – working with the Office for Low Emission Vehicles and Innovate UK – to fund projects that investigate new business models, consumer awareness and technologies that support interaction between electric vehicles and the grid.

So-called vehicle-to-grid technologies are expected to play a big part in making the UK’s electricity supply network smarter and in encouraging take-up.

Vehicles that can take electricity from the grid when demand is low and return it when demand is high could help to even out peaks and troughs and make the grid more efficient.

The UK government wants nearly all cars to be zero emission by 2050, and it sees a smarter and more flexible electricity system as a major benefit to consumers and a key to future growth.

This is of course very good news, apart from the time it has taken UK plc to get around to it! As a consequence of the announcement V2G UK booked ourselves in to give a two minute “elevator pitch” at a Knowledge Transfer Network V2G briefing event at the Energy Systems Catapult offices in Birmingham.

We decided we should travel in style, and Exeter Nissan kindly offered us an extended test drive in an almost brand new Nissan e-NV200 van! That’s much better for our purposes than a black stretch limo, which we will hopefully prove to you in due course. Here’s a photo of the Exeter Nissan team for posterity:

Exeter Nissan - Arguably the most enthusiastic and experienced Nissan team in the UK!

Arguably the most enthusiastic and experienced Nissan team in the UK!

We picked up the e-NV200 from them almost fully charged, and here’s how it looked at the time:

The weather wasn’t too bad, so we jumped straight in and drove the 56 and a bit miles up the M5 to Sedgemoor Services in “Eco” mode at a steady 60 mph or thereabouts. Now zooming up the motorway carrying an overnight bag and a couple of suits in the back isn’t a typical days work for a van, but with that proviso in mind here are some of the sights we saw on arrival at Sedgemoor:

The e-NV200 dashboard will be familiar to LEAF drivers, although there are some other differences. The “gear stick” is mounted below the dashboard, and the foot operated parking brake has morphed back into a conventional handbrake. In our case the 56 miles we’d travelled plus 20 left in “the tank” equates to a range of 76 miles by my reckoning, which is roughly what we achieved during the entire journey.

We’d used the old Ecotricity free “smart card” system on previous test drives, but this time we had to pay through the nose using their new smartphone app. That refused to install on my ancient Motorola Atrix, but we eventually got things working on Kasia’s more modern Sony Xperia. After a lengthy lunch break we returned to see this:

Stopping charging proved to be a non trivial procedure. Pressing the button on the charging station prompted Kasia to tap a button on her phone. That seemed to do the trick on the physical equipment but the virtual app insisted that charging hadn’t stopped yet.

We eventually pressed on regardless to the shiny new Gloucester Services:

51.7 miles according to Google maps. 51 miles according to the e-NV200:

Kasia’s Ecotricity app was still insisting the charging session at Sedgemoor hadn’t finished yet! Power cycling her phone enabled us to get a new session started. After a slightly swifter coffee break this time we set off on the last leg to Birmingham with a 95% charge. That was when our troubles really began. The Nissan satellite navigation system kept insisting “you may be unable to reach your destination” even though there was apparently plenty of juice in the battery. It seems the M5 north of junction 5 was jammed solid. The sat nav eventually suggested an alternative route taking the A38 around Bromsgrove and then the M42 before heading towards Aston University in the centre of Birmingham. After several apologetic phone calls we eventually arrived at the European Bioenergy Research Institute well behind schedule:

Thankfully in all the circumstances our e-NV200 started charging without problems on the ITHECA project‘s bright green bi-directional charger!

To be continued….

The New 2018 Nissan LEAF

The rumours have been flying around for months, but Nissan have just issued another “teasing” press release about the next generation LEAF. It makes no mention of new battery technology or increased range, but it does say this:

Packed with our most advanced technologies, the redesigned next-generation LEAF will amaze your senses and raise the bar for the electric vehicle market.

Being 100% electric and zero emissions, the new Nissan LEAF, an icon of Nissan Intelligent Mobility, offers a quiet and refreshing experience while driving. With Nissan Intelligent Mobility technologies, you are more confident with enhanced vision and can better sense what is around the car. Premium interiors designed to suit your taste offer a touch more comfort.

Nissan established itself as a pioneer in the EV movement by launching the LEAF, the world’s first mass-market electric vehicle.

The world premiere for the new Nissan LEAF will take place on September 6, 2017 in Japan and we will be bringing the unveil to you live online.

It also includes this image:

and comes complete with this video:

Nissan’s previous 2018 LEAF press release suggested improved aerodynamics would lead to increased range even in the absence of a novel battery pack:

The new Nissan LEAF will feature an improved aerodynamic design that makes it even more efficient, allowing drivers to travel farther on a single charge.

Aerodynamics is key to how efficiently an electric car moves. Less drag and better stability enable the vehicle to drive longer distances before having to recharge.

The redesigned next-generation Nissan LEAF is lower to the ground, helping it realize zero lift for better stability at high speeds. Other new design features significantly stabilize the car when hit by strong crosswinds.

Inspired by airplane wings, Nissan engineers recreated the ideal shape for the new LEAF, enabling a symmetric air flow that helps it slice through the air for a smoother, more efficient journey.

It also included this image:

There was also another associated video!

Before that there was the “e-Pedal” teaser:

Nissan announced today that the widely anticipated new Nissan LEAF will come with e-Pedal, a revolutionary technology that transforms the way we drive.

With the flip of a switch, the technology turns your accelerator into an e-Pedal, allowing drivers to accelerate, decelerate and stop using just the e-Pedal. e-Pedal technology is the world’s first one-pedal operation that allows drivers to bring the car to a complete stop even on hills, stay in position, and resume driving instantly.

Drivers can cover 90% of their driving needs with the e-Pedal, making the process of driving more exciting. In heavy traffic and during city commutes, drivers will greatly reduce the need to shift from one pedal to the other, making your drive simpler and more engaging.

The e-Pedal technology represents another key milestone in Nissan’s ongoing commitment to bring accessible, advanced driver assistance technologies to the mainstream. Set to make driving safer and more enjoyable, the development of these technologies is part of Nissan Intelligent Mobility, the company’s blueprint for transforming how cars are driven, powered and integrated into society.

Here’s the e-Pedal video:

Please note the extremely important footnote:

Use conventional brake pedal for aggressive braking situations.

Before you leave please make sure to also take a look at our previous article that includes video of the next generation LEAF’s autonomous driving capabilities.

Watch this space!

Energy Storage Growth Scenarios and Operating Modes

Western Power Distribution and Regen SW have just released a report on the results of their consultation concerning “Energy Storage Growth Scenarios and Operating Modes“. The entire report is worth a read from cover to cover, but here are a couple of extracts that immediately caught our eye here at V2G UK:

On 13th July 2017, National Grid published the latest version of their Future Energy Scenarios (FES) strategic document. This document considers and discusses the role of energy storage in the future in 4 key energy scenarios. In these scenarios, storage is referenced as a provider of flexibility, both for response and co-location with intermittent generation (both solar and wind) and highlights the expectation that energy storage will be a significant part of the ongoing energy transition towards a smarter and more distributed electricity system. National Grid forecast strong growth in energy storage (in all scenarios) over the next few years, such that a total of 6 GW is forecast to be connected to the UK electricity system by 2020. Beyond this,National Grid expectation for energy storage growth varies significantly across the scenarios proposed, with the highest two scenarios showing storage grow to 10 GW by 2050 (Consumer Power-10.7 GW and Two Degrees – 9.8 GW). The considerably lower level of storage growth (under the Steady Statescenario) shows 5.2 GW by 2050, due to low levels of available funding, coupled with a reduction in capacity from 2030 onwards, as a result of existing assets not being replaced when they reach end of life.

There is also this V2G specific section:

A number of market analyst’s reports have projected energy storage growth scenarios, these include National Grid Future Energy Scenarios (see Fig.4), Committee on Climate Change, Carbon Trust and UK Government.As a starting point for WPD’s modelling, we are proposing to take a:

•High growth scenario of 10-12 GW and 24-44 GWh of energy storage capacity installed across GB by 2030.
•Lower growth scenario of 4-5 GW and 6-15 GWh across GB by 2030.

Note: these figures include 2.7GW of existing pumped hydro storage.

The introduction of significant number of electric vehicles under “Vehicle-to-Grid” (V2G) arrangements could be one factor that results in storage deployments levels increasing above the values we proposed. However, other comments received also identified regulatory barriers as a key factor that could perhaps limit deployment to levels potentially even beneath the lower growth scenario proposed. The wide margin between the high and low growth scenarios presented was recognised as an accurate reflection of market uncertainty.

We couldn’t agree more. There is currently much “market uncertainty” concerning energy storage in general and V2G technology in particular. Removing the “regulatory barriers” to progress would be most welcome down here in North Cornwall!

OVO Energy Embrace V2G

We’ve mentioned OVO Energy before, in the context of innovative financial models. Now we can mention them again, this time in the same sentence as our favourite three letter acronym! In a new section of their website devoted to electric vehicles OVO include an overview of V2G and demand side response (DSR for short). Please read the whole article, but here’s an extract:

The electric vehicle revolution will do more than reduce carbon emissions. Vehicle-to-grid technology (V2G), can give you ultimate control over your energy, and even make you money. Fancy getting your own mini power station? Then read on.

‘Vehicle to grid’ technology enables energy stored in electric vehicles to be fed back into the national electricity network (or ‘grid’) to help supply energy at times of peak demand. It’s just one technological advancement in a slew of new initiatives like ‘smart charging’ and ‘demand side response’ that are aimed at changing the way individuals, and businesses, use energy in the future. In short: the electric car revolution is tied into a whole new way of consuming energy.

We’re hurtling towards a place where ‘two-way’ electric car chargers can enable homeowners with electric cars to sell their energy back to the national network. It’s a smart idea when you consider that over 90% of cars are parked at any one time – which is a lot of energy just sitting there doing nothing. This technology will give you the opportunity to manage your energy your way, and potentially become energy self-sufficient, reducing everyone’s reliance on energy companies. Get solar panels fitted, then adopt vehicle to grid technology and your home could become a private mini-power station!

For some strange reason OVO don’t include a picture of this innovative new technology in action, so here’s one from the extensive V2G UK archives:

However they do include this image in the associated demand side response article:

together with this explanation:

Did you know that, as consumers, we are at the heart of a UK wide initiative to help secure our energy future? Not simply passive bill payers, our energy will, increasingly, be in our hands and our actions will play a crucial role in ensuring its security.

Demand side response or DSR is the unwieldy name of a programme that aims to rebalance our energy needs around the country. It will not only change how we produce energy, but also how we supply and use it. From manufacturing, public sector and big business to the householder, we all have a role to play.

Please read that article from cover to cover too. The OVO V2G article concludes:

We can help you charge your electric car everywhere, for less. Our EV Everywhere tariff is designed specially for owners of electric (and plugin hybrid) cars, and comes with fixed energy prices for two years, 100% renewable energy and free membership of Polar Plus, the UK’s biggest EV charging network.

Exciting times are afoot in the V2G sector here in the United Kingdom!

Can V2G Improve EV Battery Life?

According to a recent press release from Warwick University:

Researchers discover that by intelligently managing vehicle-to-grid technology, energy from idle vehicle batteries can be pumped back into the grid – and this would improve vehicle battery life by around 10%.

That will come as a surprise to many people! Let’s dig deeper to discover what “intelligently managing V2G technology” means in this context. According to the press release once again:

Dr Kotub Uddin, with colleagues from WMG’s Energy and Electrical Systems group and Jaguar Land Rover, has demonstrated that vehicle-to-grid (V2G) technology can be intelligently utilised to take enough energy from idle EV batteries to be pumped into the grid and power buildings – without damaging the batteries.

This new research into the potentials of V2G shows that it could actually improve vehicle battery life by around ten percent over a year.

For two years, Dr Uddin’s team analysed some of the world’s most advanced lithium ion batteries used in commercially available EVs – and created one of the most accurate battery degradation models existing in the public domain – to predict battery capacity and power fade over time, under various ageing acceleration factors – including temperature, state of charge, current and depth of discharge.

Using this validated degradation model, Dr Uddin developed a ‘smart grid’ algorithm, which intelligently calculates how much energy a vehicle requires to carry out daily journeys, and – crucially – how much energy can be taken from its battery without negatively affecting it, or even improving its longevity.

The researchers used their ‘smart grid’ algorithm to see if they could power WMG’s International Digital Laboratory – a large, busy building which contains a 100-seater auditorium, two electrical laboratories, teaching laboratories, meeting rooms, and houses approximately 360 staff – with energy from EVs parked on the University of Warwick campus.

They worked out that the number of EVs parked on the campus (around 2.1% of cars, in line with the UK market share of EVs) could spare the energy to power this building – and that in doing so, capacity fade in participant EV batteries would be reduced by up to 9.1%, and power fade by up to 12.1% over a year.

This is all still just a trifle vague, so let’s dig deeper still. Dr Uddin and his colleagues have written a learned journal article on the subject at hand, and fortunately for our purposes it’s open access! According to the conclusions to the paper:

The smart-grid algorithm was used to investigate a case study of the electricity demand for the University of Warwick IDL building. Simulation results suggest that the smart-grid formulation is able to reduce the EVs’ battery pack capacity fade by up to 9.1% and power fade by up to 12.1% within the context of the grid topology considered or if the EV is charged to 100% daily. In comparison, if the EV is charged only when the battery is close to depletion, the smart grid optimisation was able to reduce capacity fade by 4.4% and power fade by 9.5%. In conclusion, we show that an EV connected to this smart-grid system can accommodate the demand of the power network with an increased share of clean renewable energy, but more profoundly that the smart grid is able to extend the life of the EV battery beyond the case in which there is no V2G.

I cannot help but think that the opinion of many battery degradation sceptics won’t readily be swayed by “simulation results” based on a “degradation model”, validated or not.

Next Generation Nissan LEAF to Include “Autonomous” Technology

Nissan Europe exhibited at the CeBIT exhibition in Hannover, Germany for the first time last week. According to their press release:

Just weeks after demonstrating its advanced autonomous drive technology on public roads in Europe, Nissan today makes its debut at CeBIT, Europe’s largest digital expo, showcasing innovations set to revolutionise the future of motoring.

At the heart of its display at CeBIT, Nissan will showcase another autonomous innovation – Seamless Autonomous Mobility (SAM) system which was demonstrated earlier this year at CES.

Developed from NASA technology, SAM partners in-vehicle artificial intelligence with human support to help autonomous vehicles make decisions in unpredictable situations such as accidents, road construction, or other obstacles. With SAM, the autonomous vehicle becomes aware of when it should attempt to negotiate the situation by itself, and when it should seek human assistance. Knowing how to manoeuvre these situations will be key to realising a fully autonomous driving future.

Nissan has also confirmed that phase one of its innovative ProPILOT autonomous drive technology will be made available in the new Nissan Qashqai launching in FY17 and the second-generation model of the Nissan LEAF coming soon. This technology enables single lane autonomous driving on motorways and is already available on the Nissan Serena which was launched in Japan last year.

What should we expect from Nissan’s assorted “autonomous” technologies? The answer is provided by Robert Llewellyn in his latest “Fully Charged” video! As Bobby puts it:

Our first ride in a fully autonomous car on public roads in the UK.

What this car can do already, now, is drive itself anywhere on the roads. Obviously this is not available now. You can’t buy one of these Nissan LEAFs yet. This is still a development vehicle.

The idea with this, according to Nissan, is that this will be part of standard cars in around 2020

The next question is obviously “when should we expect the second-generation model of the Nissan LEAF to become available in the UK?”. A partial answer has just been “Tweeted” by Nissan UK:

Meanwhile, and perhaps not entirely coincidentally, the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy has announced:

The first competition to access funding supporting the creation of test facilities for connected and autonomous vehicles.

Business Secretary Greg Clark launched the first competition to access funding from the government’s £100 investment programme supporting the creation of test facilities for connected and autonomous vehicles today (30 March 2017) at the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders Connected Conference in London.

In his speech to an international audience of over 400 industry leaders from the automotive and technology sectors he outlined plans to create a cluster of excellence in CAV testing along the M40 corridor between Birmingham and London.

Time for me to call our local Nissan dealer to try to arrange a “test driven”! Perhaps there’s one small fly in the BEIS ointment though? South West England isn’t “along the M40 corridor between Birmingham and London”.

P.S. Nissan have released a “teaser” video in the build up to the launch of the “next generation” 2018 LEAF:

Storm Doris Blacks Out Britain

Here is the United Kingdom Met Office’s severe weather warning map for today:

According to the Met Office forecast for the West Midlands:

Some very strong winds are expected on Thursday in association with storm Doris with gusts of 60-70 mph likely, and 70-80 mph on coasts and hills.

There is still some uncertainty about the track of storm Doris, but increasing confidence that there will be widespread disruption across parts of England and Wales.

Earlier this morning we took a snapshot of Western Power Distribution’s live power cut map. It looked like this:

It’s now 10 AM on Thursday February 23rd, and WPD’s map now looks like this:


[Edit – Feb 23rd 12:15]

It’s now 12:15 PM on Thursday February 23rd. Over 20,000 properties are now without electric power in Western Power Distribution’s West Midlands region alone:

Electricity Northwest are tweeting helpful information to their online customers:

So are UK Power Networks:

However if you’ve just had a power cut you’d need to have a UPS for your PC in order to read those helpful messages! Or a fully charged mobile device with nearby comms towers still powered up!


[Edit – Feb 23rd 13:15]

It’s now 13:15 on Thursday February 23rd. Over 30,000 properties are now without electric power across Western Power Distribution’s East and West Midlands regions:

Scottish & Southern Energy Networks have issued a news release:

SSEN engineers are making good progress in reconnecting customers affected by damage to overhead lines and network equipment. Since midnight, SSEN engineers have successfully restored power to over 22,000 homes, with approximately 5,000 homes currently without power. All faults are fully resourced and all customers are expected to be restored tonight.

The worst of the conditions have been observed in Oxfordshire, Berkshire and Hampshire where a wind gust of 65mph was recorded in Odiham.

SSEN has more than 1,000 engineering, technical and support staff on duty. Ahead of the storm, engineering teams were mobilised to key locations to minimise disruption and inconvenience to customers.

Customer service teams have been contacting over 7,000 customers on our Priority Service Register to check on their wellbeing in case they need additional help.


[Edit – Feb 23rd 14:45]

It’s now 14:45 on Thursday February 23rd. Over 45,000 properties are now without electric power across Western Power Distribution’s East and West Midlands regions:


[Edit – Feb 23rd 16:00]

It’s now 16:00 on Thursday February 23rd. WPD’s live power cut map is down for maintenance:

It’s obviously fairly breezy across the United Kingdom today! Let’s take a look at the current UK electricity generation mix at the moment, courtesy of GridWatch:

Western Power Distribution have issued a severe weather update:

We are currently exceptionally busy within WPD with the East and West Midlands area being especially affected in particular by the effects of Storm Doris so far.

Issued on: Thursday 23rd February – 3pm

The West Midlands has been significantly affected with almost 22,000 customers currently off supply with the vast majority being affected between 09:00 and 12:00 with Hereford, Ludlow, Worcester, Telford and Stoke suffering the worst effects.

During the last hour the fault rate in East Midlands has picked up where we have around 10,000 without power as the storm is now tracking eastwards as expected.

Our engineers are currently working hard to restore supplies as quickly and safely as possible, and we have additional staff in our Contact Centres, Control Rooms and operational depots.

The South West and South Wales areas were impacted earlier today, but not exceptionally so. Both areas have fewer than 3,000 customers affected and all incidents are currently resourced and being worked on.

Electricity North West have issued a press release, which begins:

Engineers from Electricity North West are working in difficult conditions today to restore power as Storm Doris hits the North West.

The region’s power network operator has restored supplies to around 5,000 properties throughout the morning following the Met Office’s amber weather warning for severe gales of 70 to 80mph and a yellow warning for snow to hit the North West today.

Around 2,500 properties remain without power as flying debris has hit lines and high winds make access difficult for repair teams. Properties are affected mainly in Lancashire, Manchester and the Peak district including250 properties currently without power in Horwich, Bolton.


[Edit – Feb 23rd 17:00]

It’s now 17:00 on Thursday February 23rd. WPD’s live power cut map is still down. However SSEN have issued a 4 PM update:

SSEN engineers are making good progress in reconnecting customers affected by damage to overhead lines and network equipment. Since midnight, power has been restored to over 29,000 homes, with approximately 8,000 homes currently without power. All faults are fully-resourced and we are working to restore power to all customers tonight.

The worst of the conditions have been observed in Oxfordshire, where around 5,000 customers are currently without power, as well as parts of Berkshire and Hampshire.


[Edit – Feb 23rd 18:30]

It’s now 18:30 on Thursday February 23rd. WPD’s live power cut map is still down! SP Energy Networks have now issued a press release:

The MET Office Amber warnings remain in place until 8pm tonight as Storm Doris continues to cause significant impact across the UK.

SP Energy Networks distribution licence area in Cheshire, Merseyside and North Wales has experienced extreme weather conditions today, with wind gusts of over 90mph experienced in exposed areas. Over the course of today we have restored power to over 50,000 customers impacted by this severe weather.

Our restoration efforts have been hampered today by the gale force winds making it unsafe for our engineering teams to work at height. The winds have now reduced somewhat, albeit we are still seeing wind gusts in excess of 50mph in exposed areas.
However, where it is safe to do so, our restoration efforts will continue this evening and tonight. As a result of the extensive damage experienced today, we now expect that some customers will be without power overnight.

Where possible, we will endeavour to make contact with those customers impacted to discuss welfare options. We have been working with the Red Cross who will help support our vulnerable customers impacted by today’s events.

Electricity North West have issued another press release:

Engineers from Electricity North West will work into the evening and through the night to restore the final properties affected by Storm Doris.

The region’s power network operator has restored supplies to around 6,700 properties throughout the day following the winds of 70 to 80mph in the North West.

800 properties remain without power in a number of small pockets, mainly across Lancashire as flying debris and fallen trees have hit power lines in the region.

Western Power Distribution have issued another severe weather update:

The current situation within WPD is still exceptionally busy, with the East Midlands, and even more so the West Midlands areas still having large numbers of customers off supply due to the effects of Storm Doris that passed through our area today.

Issued on: Thursday 23rd February – 6pm

There are approximately 20,000 customers in the West Midlands off supply and we have restored around a further 20,000 throughout the day. As of the last update the worst affected areas have been Hereford, Ludlow, Worcester, Telford and Stoke.

There are currently fewer than 10,000 customers off supply in the East Midlands with us having restored a further 10,000 approximately throughout the day.

Whilst busy, the volume of faults affecting the South West and South Wales have not been too bad, with all incidents being worked on and resourced. There are currently fewer than 1,500 customers off throughout the two areas and staff from those areas have been moved into the Midlands to assist where required.

Our contact centre has dealt with over 22,000 calls from customers with an average speed of response time of 6.7 seconds.

We have had one helicopter airborne today flying from Nottingham that has inspected two EHV faults in Stoke and Telford. Tomorrow, all four aircraft will be available from first light to aid and assist in repairs as required.


[Edit – Feb 23rd 20:00]

It’s now 20:00 on the evening of Thursday February 23rd. WPD’s live power cut map is operational again, and it’s moved to a dedicated subdomain! Here is what it reveals:


[Edit – Feb 23rd 22:30]

This will be our last update for today, at 22:30 on the evening of Thursday February 23rd. First of all WPD’s live power cut map, zoomed in on the Midlands:

Next the 20:00 update from Scottish and Southern:

Since midnight, power has been restored to over 30,000 homes, with approximately 4,000 homes currently without power. All faults are fully-resourced and engineers are working to restore power to all customers tonight.

Storm Doris brought severe winds, with gusts of up to 65mph, across the region. The worst of the conditions were felt in Oxfordshire, where around 2,500 customers are currently without power. Extra linesman and repair teams have been despatched to the area to aid restoration efforts. Parts of Berkshire and Hampshire were also affected.

Finally the 21:30 update from Scottish Power:

Over the course of the day our distribution licence area in Cheshire, Merseyside & North Wales has experienced extreme weather conditions, including winds in excess of 90mph. As a result of these storm force winds, our network has sustained a level of damage resulting in a loss of power for some of our customers. Despite the extremely challenging conditions, and the restrictions that our teams have faced working at heights in such extreme conditions, our engineers have worked tirelessly over the course of today to restore power to as many homes as possible, restoring power to over 66,000 people. However, a number of customers will remain without power overnight and we will make every effort to contact these customers tonight.

We continue to work to maximise our resource levels, with additional engineering teams from our Scottish distribution area already dispatched to support the restoration efforts as well as continuing to work with our contracting partners to secure additional resources. We will also be looking to mobilise helicopters tomorrow morning to help the fault finding process on some of the more challenging terrain.

For a warming nightcap after the blustery day here’s the GridWatch UK electricity generation mix tonight, including the minor contributors: