Vehicle-to-grid chargepoints can improve battery life in electric vehicles and reduce carbon emissions and costs of charging, research finds

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Research from a government-funded project involving academics in the University of Nottingham’s Faculty of Engineering shows that by careful charging and discharging, EV battery degradation can reduce by one-eighth, and, in some situations, up to 450 kg of emitted carbon dioxide (CO2) or £400 could be saved per vehicle each year.

The EV-elocity project deployed 15 chargepoints across nine sites – including West Midlands Police, Leeds City Council and the University of Nottingham Creative Energy Homes campus. Two of charger from eNovates and Nichicon were managed by a technology-agnostic operating system, demonstrating V2G across the different trial sites within the UK.

According to the researchers, vehicle-to-grid (V2G) can balance the calendar and cycling aging (both of which affect the rate of battery degradation) to optimise the battery condition and improve its health by 8.6 – 12.3% over one-year’s operation, compared to conventional charging alone – equivalent to one extra year of use.

In cost-terms, V2G tariff optimisation can reportedly save around £100 per year per chargepoint on normal business electricity tariffs, with up to £400 saved on a smarter tariff.

Chris Rimmer, Infrastructure Strategy lead at Cenex and lead project manager, commented on the findings: “Our conclusions show that it is not necessary to trade-off financial, environmental and asset lifetimes when charging Electric Vehicles.

“Cost, carbon, and conditioning benefits can all be gained when V2G is used intelligently with fleet vehicles.”

According to researchers, if the environmental benefit is managed to maximise, nearly half a tonne of annual CO2 emissions can be saved, and significant savings (over 180 kg) can be made even when reducing cost is the main goal.

Professor Lucelia Rodrigues, Professor of Sustainable and Resilient Cities at the University of Nottingham, commented: “A key challenge for an optimum application of V2G technology is to synchronize the needs and requirements of the users and the energy and transport systems.

“Our work correlated variables such as user needs, mobility patterns and renewable electricity generation to evolve different possible scenarios for the application of V2G chargers, with a view of maximizing local renewable energy consumption, lowering costs for the user, improving battery life and reducing carbon emissions from the whole system.”

The EV-elocity Project was funded by Innovate UK, the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, and the Office for Zero Emission Vehicles between September 2018 and January 2022; it was led by Cenex and comprised CrowdCharge, Leeds City Council, Nottingham City Council, University of Nottingham and University of Warwick in a second phase from January 2020.

Professor James Marco of Warwick Manufacturing Group added: “Our experimental research highlighted the potential to extend battery life by exploiting the unique capability of V2G chargers to both charge and discharge the vehicle battery.

“By careful optimisation of this process and knowing how the battery performance may degrade over time, it is possible to condition the battery to extend its life in a number if situations when compared to conventional methods of vehicle charging.”