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Octopus Energy today launched a new consortium to develop the first large-scale domestic trial of vehicle-to-grid (V2G) charging in the UK, following a £3million funding injection by BEIS and OLEV delivered by InnovateUK.

Comprising Octopus Energy, Octopus Electric Vehicles, UK Power Networks, ChargePoint Services, Open Energi, Energy Saving Trust and Navigant, the consortium will roll out vehicle-to-grid charging technology to UK electric vehicle (EV) drivers this year.

The £7million project will install 135 V2G chargers in a ‘cluster’ delivery model that will facilitate research into the impact of widespread EV rollout on the UK’s electricity grid. The project will demonstrate the benefits of using domestic electric vehicle batteries to provide grid flexibility, cheaper transport and energy to homeowners, and faster decarbonisation of the UK’s power and transport sectors.

Customers will be able to discover electric vehicles, take them for a test drive and access a special V2G bundle, Octopus PowerLoop, when leasing a V2G compatible car. A two-way charger will enable the driver to charge their vehicle intelligently, using their vehicle battery to power their home during peak times or selling spare power back to the grid – creating value for the driver.

The technology could revolutionise the energy system by enabling electric vehicles to act as battery packs for the grid, helping to solve the challenge of how to harness the full potential of renewable energy whilst making sure that it is always available on demand. Evidence also shows that V2G use has the potential to increase battery life.

Fiona Howarth, CEO of Octopus Electric Vehicles comments:

“Octopus Energy was founded to drive down the cost of energy to customers and the planet, and Octopus Electric Vehicles is the next phase in that mission.

“There has been a lot of talk from the sidelines about how vehicle-to-grid technology will change the face of energy, but with this consortium we will be the first in the UK to actually deliver it to hundreds of households. We’re delighted to be working with this consortium of visionary companies, and proud to be backed by Innovate UK.”

Mark Thompson, Senior Innovation Lead at Innovate UK added:

“Vehicle-to-Grid is one of the most iconic parts of the electric vehicle domain, and one that represents a great opportunity for engaging society with the energy system for win-win benefit.  The Octopus V2G project is part of a creative, diverse and ambitious group of V2G projects announced today that are way ahead of anything being done currently world-wide, and give the UK a genuine competitive edge in the electrification of transport.”

Alex Bamberg, Managing Director, ChargePoint Services, said:

“ChargePoint Services’ GeniePoint Network continues to be at the cutting edge of delivering the smartest and most reliable electric vehicle charging network in the UK.  With this consortium, we join with existing partners to enable us to provide real benefits to the end user both in terms of efficiency and reduced cost. Our investment in the GeniePoint Network and its class leading reliability is further enhanced, whilst at the same time ensuring protection and flexibility of the UK’s energy Grid”.

Ian Cameron, Head of Innovation at UK Power Networks said:

“Electric vehicles are effectively energy sources on wheels, so there are tremendous opportunities to explore how electricity networks can use any spare capacity in those batteries to benefit our customers.

“In the future you could use your car battery to power your house or earn money by selling its spare energy back into the network at peak times, and all of this whilst ensuring you have enough energy for your next day’s commute. We’re innovating to keep our customers moving at the lowest possible cost.”

Dagoberto Cedillos, Strategy and Innovation Lead at Open Energi said:

“Smart charging solutions that align the needs of drivers and the electricity grid are fundamental to the future of sustainable energy and transport. In partnership with our fellow consortium members, we’re applying cutting-edge tech to help realise the enormous opportunity that is domestic V2G charging in the UK, and internationally.”

-Ends-

 About Octopus PowerLoop

The consortium includes the market-leading charge point platform provider (ChargePoint Services), an innovative aggregator (Open Energi) and the Distribution Network Operator (DNO) in London, the area where EV penetration is highest (UK Power Networks). The unique combination of participants in the consortium enables an unparalleled opportunity to validate domestic V2G at scale in regional clusters.

Octopus PowerLoop will enable customers to discover electric vehicles, take them for a test drive and access a special Vehicle to Grid (V2G) bundle. The availability of the domestic electric vehicle (EV) batteries to help balance the system makes the grid flexible and responsive, allowing greater use of variable generation-like renewable energy, and reduces the cost of EV ownership by rewarding owners for taking part.

By working with EV owners and the DNO – UK Power Networks (UKPN) – the consortium will demonstrate the viability and value of domestic V2G at a large scale. At the end of the project, the consortium will have achieved four key objectives:

  1. Gained critical insights into customer needs and driving behaviours, and which V2G propositions they’re most attracted to.
  2. Collected substantial data to inform the DNO on flexibility, network modelling, and planning for future infrastructure.
  3. Built a scheduling engine and aggregation platform that lets the charger communicate with all service providers.
  4. Developed a business model that delivers value to all parties in the value-chain.

About Vehicle-to-Grid

The Octopus PowerLoop project is part of the 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 Innovate UK.

In January 2017, OLEV and BEIS announced that 21 projects (8 feasibility studies, 5 collaborative research and development projects, and 8 real-world v2g trial projects) were to receive funding of c£30m to develop the business proposition and core technology around V2G, and demonstrate those with large scale trials. The projects involve more than 50 industrial partners and research organisations from both the Energy and Automotive sector, marking the largest and most diverse activities on V2G in the world, and trialling more than 2700 vehicles across UK.

The V2G projects represent a significant step towards the transition to a low carbon transportation and a smart energy system. Allowing EVs to return energy to the Power Grid when parked and plugged for charging, will increase Grid resilience, allow for better exploitation of renewable sources and lower the cost of ownership for EV owners, leading to new business opportunities and clear advantages for EV users and energy consumers.

For journalists in their professional capacity only. Issued by Octopus Energy Ltd. Registered office: 33 Holborn, London, EC1N 2HT. Registered in England and Wales No. 09263424. Issued: January 2017.

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