Plymouth City Council has announced a partnership with E-Flex, a Cisco-led vehicle-to-grid (V2G) demonstration project, to trial using V2G with its fleet of electric vehicles (EVs). By 2030, Plymouth City Council has set the goal of being carbon neutral, so using V2G technology to make EVs more practical and commercially viable is part of a broader local strategy.
Today, the council’s own fleet has six EVs available for day-to-day employee business travel around the city. The trial will see the council’s existing fleet of Nissan Leafs equipped with bidirectional chargers, enabling them to take electricity from the grid and release it back when the vehicle is not in use.
As well as being commercially beneficial, V2G will alleviate pressure at times of peak usage on the local grid and prepare the existing charging infrastructure for an increase in the number of electric vehicles. This allows vehicles to charge at times of lower demand when energy is cheaper and release it back at times of higher demand when it is more expensive.
“Plymouth is a particularly strained part of the grid, with Cornwall generating a lot of renewable energy but delivering this further up the country at times of high demand”, said Dan Turner, Low Carbon City Officer, Plymouth City Council. “For businesses to grow, we need to find new ways to support their energy consumption whilst reducing connection costs across the city, so the V2G concept appeals to us from a grid management perspective as well as a commercial one.”
The council will be trialling V2G with long and short term goals in mind. In the near future, it hopes to use V2G as a means of managing energy costs more effectively to free up investment for other local challenges. It also aims to improve the local services available to EV users, increasing the number of charging ports across Plymouth.
Plymouth City Council continues to drive community engagement and awareness on environmental topics, with solar energy and continued support for EVs. Long term, the council hopes to drive external investment from sustainable businesses by demonstrating Plymouth’s low-carbon agenda. In turn, the city plans to increase engagement in the education sector, driving collaboration between Plymouth University and private businesses to create a hub for future innovation in this space.
“As we are seeing in the private sector, now more than ever before, it’s crucial for towns and cities to align their future goals with sustainable industry and a plan to reduce carbon emissions,” said Maria Hernandez, Head of Innovation, Cisco UK & Ireland. “With the potential to transform the way urban areas consume energy, V2G technology is a win-win for council fleets, business fleets and public sector services alike.”
E-Flex aims to 200 electric vehicles in a real-world V2G testing environment. If you are a fleet owner and would like to sign up to this trial, sign up here.