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Government unveils £30m investment to unlock electric vehicle-to-grid technology

The government has announced plans to invest £30m in new technology which will unlock the potential for electric vehicles to help power people’s homes and businesses.

This investment will support vehicle-to-grid (V2G) technologies that could enable electric cars and other vehicles deliver electricity back to the smart grid, to light homes and power businesses.

The funding has been awarded to 21 V2G projects, to pay for research and design and development, with the aim of exploring and trialling both the technology itself and commercial opportunities.

These schemes, including EDF Energy’s V2GO scheme, will demonstrate how energy stored in electric vehicle batteries could be borrowed by the electricity system during peak hours, before being recharged during the off-peak in time for their drivers to set off on their next journey.

A trial project led by EDF Energy R&D UK, the ‘V2GO’ is a large scale demonstration of V2G charging in Oxford using 100 electric fleet vehicles (cars and vans) from a number of organisations including several delivery and taxi companies.

The project will develop, trial and evaluate potential business models for fleet operators’ use of electric vehicles and their suitability for vehicle to grid (V2G) charging.

The consortium is made up of eight organisations specialising in the energy and power markets and systems, fleet operation value chains and electric mobility: EDF Energy R&D UK, University of Oxford, Oxfordshire County Council, Arrival, EO Charging, Upside Energy, and Fleet Innovation.

At the same time these electric vehicles will provide a cleaner alternative to many of the fleet vehicles operated in UK cities, including Royal Mail vans, and Addison Lee taxis.

Jesse Norman, Transport Minister, said: “As the number of electric vehicles grows and their battery capabilities increase, there is a huge opportunity for them to make a significant contribution to a smart grid.

“These projects are at the cutting edge of their field. Just like the visionary designs of Brunel and Stephenson in transport, they could revolutionise the ways in which we store and manage electricity, both now and in the future.”

Richard Harrington, Business Minister, added: “The UK’s automotive industry is a great British success story, and as set out in our ambitious Industrial Strategy we are determined to lead the way in innovative, low-emission vehicle production.

“We have shown that growing the economy while cutting emissions, can, and should, go hand in hand. Vehicle-to-grid technology provides another opportunity for the UK to showcase to the world our leading expertise in game-changing automotive and low carbon technologies.”

Dan Bentham, Head of R&D, Smart Customers, EDF Energy, also commented: “Electric vehicles will play an important role in the future of UK energy and its economy. They will have a beneficial impact on the environment by reducing emissions and improving air quality.

“Through our research, EDF Energy will use new technologies, business models and smart systems to make low carbon transport, and the infrastructure and market conditions needed for its success, a reality.”

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