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Editor's Picks Transportation and Logistics

Could fleet owners save millions by selling power to the grid?

With electric vehicles adding so much battery capacity to an energy network, the potential exists for fleets to sell back power at times of high demand.

Introducing electric vehicles (EVs) into business fleets could bring a host of opportunities that just weren’t open to diesel vehicles – and some of the most exciting could be around using all that new battery capacity for smarter storage and potential revenue generation.

In fact, a recent report into vehicle-to-grid (V2G) charging claims a potential £486m of revenue could be made annually in the UK alone through use of this fledgling technology, with company fleets best placed to benefit.

The idea of incentivizing fleet electrification across the globe with possible revenue generation is compelling. With all emerging technology, however, the devil is in the detail. So, what is V2G and how would it work?

Two-way charging

Bidirectional V2G charging allows vehicles to discharge excess electricity stored in their batteries back to the grid at busy times - or when the potential for generating revenue is greatest – then recharge when overall demand is low and/or prices are cheaper.

Bidirectional charging has a potential two-fold benefit of reducing running costs and making smarter use of energy for a lower carbon impact. Experts say that a lack of data on costs and opportunities has, until now, held back the ability of organizations to build effective business cases.


Who could benefit?

Fleet and business applications are thought to offer some of the best opportunities for V2G cost saving, with pool cars amongst the most applicable to V2G as they often have long dwell periods and are usually connected to chargers overnight and during the day.

Chargers could be managed as stand-alone units, in local clusters or as an aggregated network to allow a group operation to act as a virtual power plant and trade in energy markets that aren’t geographically sensitive.

Parcel delivery, bus and airport fleets also have good applicability for V2G, and it’s hoped the technology could even support intelligent battery management by ensuring batteries remain within ‘optimum’ parameters to aid longevity.

Potential savings

Not-for-profit, low-carbon technology consultancy Cenex recently conducted one of the first major pieces of research on the potential of V2G. It says an average V2G charge point could generate £186 more value than an equivalent unmanaged charger. However, revenues could be much higher if an EV is plugged in for longer. When connected for 75% of the time, a V2G charger could potentially generate £436 per annum.

Issues around electrifying a fleet to improve its cost efficiency are increasingly compelling. At HERE Technologies, we’re keen to help fleet operators find multiple ways to maximize asset utilization and lower costs with our broad portfolio of services built to support key fleet operations, these could well be complemented by V2G charging.

Assuming a million EVs in the UK apply V2G technology, Cenex predicts an annual revenue of £436m. However, it also warns at least half of this revenue is at ‘significant risk’ if prices for smart selling back to the grid start to fall.

Businesses across the globe are under pressure to streamline costs and processes. To find out more about all the ways HERE Technologies helps unlock the value for today's fleet solutions, click here.

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