It’s an unusual twist on electric vehicle charging, no doubt, but the UK government has backed new technologies that would enable families to power their homes with their car.
Electricity stored in the vehicle’s batteries could be used to power home appliances such as fridges and washing machines, says the Department for Energy Security & Net Zero (DESNZ), leading to savings on their energy bills.
The trick is in bi-directional charging technology, which enables electricity stored in a vehicle’s battery to flow back into the grid, or back into the home and workplaces, where it can then be used to power other devices.
Four projects have been awarded a share of £4.8m funding to support their work testing and implementing the so-called vehicle-to-everything (V2X) technologies.
Amanda Solloway, minister for affordability and skills, said: “The prospect of families being able to store energy on their doorstep in electric vehicles and use it to power their homes is incredibly exciting.
“This is exactly the sort of ingenuity and creativity that makes the UK one of the world’s most innovative nations.
“By backing this technology, we could save families hundreds of pounds a year, while also supporting jobs, investment and growth.”
These latest developments are said to build on existing smart charging technologies, where electric vehicles can be charged when electricity prices are lower overnight. Families could then use these V2X technologies to save money on their bills by selling the electricity back to the grid when prices are higher.
According to DESNZ, businesses could also benefit from the V2X technologies by storing electricity in their fleets of electric vehicles and using it to power their operations at a later date.
It is claimed that these technologies will also help make it easier to rely on renewable technologies such as solar panels; with less need for fossil fuels to provide for surges in demand by allowing stored renewable energy to be sold into the grid instead.
Anthony Browne, transport minister for technology and decarbonisation, said: “We’re continuing to support drivers, and this innovative new development is the next step in levelling-up our charging technology, which will benefit many households across the country.
“This government has already spent over £2bn in the transition to electric vehicles, and our charging network is growing at pace, with 44% more public charge-points than this time last year, meaning drivers can charge more easily than before.”
The successful companies backed with a share of the funding are:
- Hangar19 Ltd in Chelmsford will demonstrate a three-socket bi-directional charger, making a wider range of electric vehicles available for energy flexibility and bi-directional charging
- 3ti Energy Hubs Ltd in Leatherhead will combine a quick-to-deploy bi-directional charging hub with a solar canopy and energy storage battery, house in recycled shipping containers, which can make access to bi-directional charging available in more destinations, including vehicle depots
- Otaski Energy Solutions Ltd in Gateshead will trial its bi-directional electric vehicle charger to enable fleet EV operators to access energy in a flexible way which could deliver savings in line with electricity supply and demand surges
- Electric Green Limited in London will work with QEnergy to trial wireless V2X technology with a fleet of 20 delivery vehicles at Royal Mail
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