Nissan Australia is eager to showcase the Leaf electric car’s bi-directional charging capabilities, meaning its ability to put stored power back into the grid, as well as drawing it out.
The carmaker’s local division says it’s partnering up with Melbourne power utility Simply Energy, Spain-based producer of bi-directional charging devices Wallbox, and San Francisco-based “intelligent” energy management platform provider Sunverge.
The goal is to make this issue less opaque or, according to a press release, explain how to “make EVs an integral part of the smart grid of the future”, by branding them as batteries on wheels. Big ones at that…
A bi-directional EV can be plugged into a home charger, put a proportion of the energy it contains into the grid for payment from the utility, then suck the car’s needed electricity back from the grid at a time of less demand or off-peak rates.
The partnership will see the Nissan Leaf (with either 40kWh or 60kWh storage) plugged into Wallbox Quasar bi-directional charger hardware. Sunverge will offer the distributed energy real-time control, orchestration and aggregation platform.
“Sunverge, Nissan and Wallbox will jointly study the opportunities around advanced V2G capabilities such as frequency regulation and response,” went the accompanying statement.
While it’s unclear how this arrangement will tangibly benefit Leaf owners at this stage, Nissan certainly sees its V2G capabilities as a real unique selling point for the Leaf, though other OEMs are going down a similar path.
“We hope to be able to showcase the opportunity a Nissan Leaf can provide when paired with the right hardware, control systems and energy plans to unlock benefits for not only Nissan customers, but the wider energy grid and all energy users,” said Nissan’s national head of electrification and mobility, Ben Warren.
“The electrification of transportation along with electrification of homes and commercial buildings are two of the vital trends integral to decarbonising the world’s energy infrastructure,” added Sunverge CEO Martin Milani.
“… This partnership is a major step forward in that effort and we are proud to be working with our partners Simply Energy, Nissan Australia and Wallbox. Jointly we will realise the significant upstream gains possible from the integration and aggregation of these distributed EV resources.
“Utilities and retailers can play a major and active role in the electrification of transportation and offer in home EV charging as a service bundled with EV friendly tariffs and integrated as a part of their services offerings.
“It is always a pleasure to be working with forward-thinking utilities and we are delighted to be working with Simply Energy on this innovative and groundbreaking program.”