british gas
Image credit: British Gas

As part of efforts to accelerate its smart home energy plans, UK utility British Gas has joined a vehicle to grid (V2G) customer trial.

The Electric Nation Vehicle to Grid project is being implemented by Western Power Distribution across the South West, Midlands and South Wales.

Some 100 consumers are expected to participate in the trial, which will involve the use of Nissan electric vehicles (EVs) to store energy to power households during times when demand is high across the three regions.

Participating customers will receive CrowdCharge’s EV chargers and associated apps, worth £5,500 ($7,700), for free.

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Consumers will only be asked to plug in their vehicles when asked by the utilities. The Crowdcharge EV platform will use the plugged vehicles in line with signals being sent by the utilities. EV drivers will inform the CrowdCharge platform when they next need their car and how many miles they will need for the next day. The first priority for CrowdCharge is to ensure these requirements are met. EVs are often plugged in for over 12 hours overnight but may only need an average of one to two hours of charge. This allows considerable time and flexibility to fit in the EV charging overnight.

Four energy companies are participating in the pilot to come up with a roadmap on how to accelerate the adoption of EVs, the deployment of EV charging infrastructure and to ensure increased EV penetration without stressing the grid.

British Gas says EVs, smart home water tanks and battery energy storage will play a key role in ensuring that the UK is able to trade up to 25TWh of flexible energy every year to meet the government’s plan of equipping every home with offshore wind.

Americo Lenza, portfolio director for service & solutions at British Gas, said: “This trial is all about putting our customers in charge of their energy future. We see a time when our cars, or even the humble hot water tank can be used as an energy store for excess wind or solar power, storage that can then be discharged when the wind isn’t blowing. This not only helps the UK transition to a net zero future but means we can unlock savings for customers and help us all live more sustainably.”

Mike Potter, CEO of CrowdCharge, adds: “A key element of Electric Nation has been to include a diverse range of different energy partners, in order to more realistically simulate the vehicle to grid charging landscape in the future. This is why we’re delighted to have British Gas as an energy partner for the project, and we look forward to discovering participants’ views about the different approaches and tariffs of a range of energy suppliers.”

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Nicholas Nhede
Nicholas Nhede is an experienced energy sector writer based in Clarion Event's Cape Town office. He has been writing for Smart Energy International’s print and online media platforms since 2015, on topics including metering, smart grids, renewable energy, the Internet of Things, distributed energy resources and smart cities. Originally from Zimbabwe, Nicholas holds a diploma in Journalism and Communication Studies. Nicholas has a passion for how technology can be used to accelerate the energy transition and combat climate change.