Proving the Business Case for the Internet of Things

Nissan and Enel partner on EV smart grid project

Steve Rogerson
December 15, 2015
At the 21st UN Conference on Climate Change (COP21) in Paris, Japanese car maker Nissan announced the development of a vehicle-to-grid system that will allow drivers to operate as individual energy hubs with the ability to store, use or return electricity to the grid.
Nissan will commence smart grid trials in partnership with Italy-based multinational energy manufacturer and distributor, Enel.
Nissan and Enel have committed to working together to explore introducing this technology to the European market, the extended use of second life electric vehicles batteries for static applications, and designing and evaluating potential affordable energy and mobility pack offers.
Vehicle-to-grid allows users to take control of the type of energy they consume – avoiding peak tariffs and generating additional household income during peak times.
Using a two-way charger and energy management system developed by Nissan in partnership with Enel, owners of Nissan Leaf cars can connect to charge at low-demand, cheap tariff periods, with an option to then use the electricity stored in the vehicle’s battery at home when costs are higher, or even feed back to the grid to generate additional household income.
“It ultimately means that electric vehicles can now become a fully integrated part of our national electricity systems right across Europe,” said Paul Willcox, Nissan Europe chairman. “A sustainable transportation future demands better connections between vehicles, utilities, renewable energy sources and buildings. This is why this announcement is so important – it's the first step towards a truly integrated automotive energy ecosystem. As the energy and automotive sectors converge, and as we look towards an ever electric future, the opportunities for enhanced energy management have never been stronger. Vehicle-to-grid technology represents a step closer to this vision and underscores Nissan’s commitment to the entire EV ecosystem – it goes way beyond driving.”
The agreement with Enel will bring the first grid integrated vehicles to countries where regulation allows sufficient value generation. Denmark will host the first set of trials with Germany, Netherlands and other northern European regions following suit.
“Enel is leading the power industry in developing and introducing a V2G charging infrastructure into the global market,” said Ernesto Ciorra, chief innovation officer at Enel. “We consider integration with electric vehicles a cornerstone of the future of the electric system, as they now have become far more than mobility solutions. Technologies like vehicle-to-grid have the potential to transform energy systems and we’re pleased to join forces with Nissan and move this vision forward. With increased pressure on the grid and an overreliance on fossil fuels, vehicle-to-grid implementation gives EV owners the ability to store and release green energy back into the grid. This is an extraordinary time for electric mobility.”
V2G charging infrastructure and V2G-enabled electric vehicles give EV owners and businesses with large EV fleets the opportunity to create mobile energy hubs integrating their vehicles with the grid.
“This alliance make it possible to connect the dots,” said Ciorra. “Together, Enel and Nissan have all that is needed to bring new services to customers as well as provide them with new ways to use their cars and get returns out of that. V2G is one of the innovations that can improve our life and make the world a better place for all people now and for the generations to come This is well in line with Enel’s innovation mantra looking at creating better climate conditions in the world we live in.”
In France, for example, where there are 38 million vehicles and where the current electricity generation capacity is 130GW, a future where all vehicles on the road are EVs and PHEVs, the grid integration of the vehicles could generate a virtual power plant of up to 380GW, three times the national generation capacity of France.
The agreement signed by Nissan and Enel also envisaged joint cooperation on other innovations such as energy management services using second life and new batteries and charging stations to electric taxi cooperatives.
A trial in the UK using Nissan Leaf EVs concluded that about a third of local electricity networks in the UK will need some form of intervention to cope with charging electric vehicles when penetration hits 40 to 70 per cent. Called My Electric Avenue, the three-year trial was funded by regulator Ofgem.
• Eneco subsidiary Jedlix will develop a version of its existing smart charging app to adapt it to Renault Zoe. This app makes it possible to charge electric cars using renewable energy at times when the market prices are most favourable, such as at night, when the production of sustainable wind energy exceeds demand in most European countries.