What is V2G Technology & How it can Save the Grid

Columbia News

Oct 3, 2022

An innovative technology, V2G, or Vehicle to Grid could help support an overwhelmed electric grid. V2G technology involves bidirectional chargers to carry unused power from a parked EV’s batteries into the smart grid.

From California to Texas to Indiana, electric grid operators have issued warnings of an imminent capacity shortfall. This could lead to rolling blackouts across the US during extreme weather events such as heat waves and wildfires. Electricity shortage is rising across the US as traditional power plants are being retired faster than greener power plants can come online. In the race towards net zero, the transport sector is also being hugely revamped, with the proportion of electric vehicles slotted to rise. By 2030, some 145 million electric cars, buses, trucks, and vans will be on US roads.


“If all transportation goes electric, we are effectively doubling demand,” said Matthias Preindl, an EV expert at Columbia Engineering. “And the grid isn’t built to withstand that.” According to a 2020 study, the United States would need to invest $125 billion by 2030 solely to keep up with EVs’ burgeoning power demands.


An innovative technology, V2G, or Vehicle to Grid could help support an overwhelmed electric grid. V2G technology involves bidirectional chargers to carry unused power from an EV’s batteries into the smart grid. Drivers park their EVs 95% of the time. These parked EVs represent a potential distributed energy storehouse that can infuse power back to the grid. When an EV gets charged, the grid’s AC (alternating current) electricity is converted to the batteries’ DC (direct current) — and this in turn is used to run the vehicle. A bidirectional charger is capable of converting DC to AC and transferring it to the grid from the EV’s lithium-ion cells. The charger can also simultaneously control the power entering or leaving the battery.


Industry experts project that the V2G market will grow by 48% by 2027. So far, only four commercially available electric cars are equipped with V2G technology — Nissan e-NV200, Nissan LEAF, Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV, and Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross PHEV. Bidirectional charging seems to be the norm this year, with Volkswagen, Ford, and General Motors o gradually launching compatible EVs. V2G technology however, would need significant investment and funding to become truly viable in the future.


Meanwhile, energy efficiency is and always will remain the lowest hanging fruit that can be harvested to reap maximum benefit and reinforce the electrical grid. As the IEA recommends, the energy savings to be gained from more efficient buildings, in combination with temporary thermostat adjustments by consumers can prove to be ample. FORCE helps you save power and save money while achieving your de-carbonization goals. Doing your bit for energy efficiency by employing FORCE can ease the pressure off the grid. It’s a sure way to make a meaningful impact!