Which electric cars support V2G?

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The Mobility House Team

January 26, 2023

Estimated reading time: 5 minutes

Many car manufacturers have V2G on their radar. More and more models are being designed with V2G capability.

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Here you will find a selection of V2G-capable car models. However, the information collected does not claim to be complete.

BMW

The Munich-based car manufacturer has launched an important V2G project and handed over 20 suitably equipped BMW i3s to private customers. They are mainly customers who live in single-family homes that either do or do not have a photovoltaic installation fitted. The question here is how V2G can be used to cut the carbon footprint and energy costs over the course of the year. This is an important point, especially when energy resources are volatile. Initial results show that revenues of EUR 300 per year can be generated due to BEVs having a V2H connection.

BMW has delivered another 30 vehicles to commercial users so that it can obtain more detailed fleet operation insights. A key question is how V2G can avoid power peaks during electricity procurement. Other participants in the “Bidirectional Charging Management – BCM” research project are the University of Passau and the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), a software supplier for connecting customer systems to energy suppliers, two grid operators, two energy industry research centers, and a manufacturer of charging hardware.

The project considers bidirectional charging as an overall concept. So not only V2G – but also V2L, V2H and V2B – not to mention the application scenarios resulting from integrating a BMW i3 with a 42-kWh battery into the power grid. One conclusion is that very high equivalent full cycle numbers of +200 to +500 full cycles per year can be achieved with free optimization. This is quite a substantial finding for future battery development.

Ford

Ford’s new F 150 Lightning electric pickup has V2L and V2H capabilities. Together with Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E), a Californian utility company, the Americans are also testing the initial V2G capabilities of the all-electric flatbed truck as a buffer for the power and domestic grids. To qualify the pickup for V2H, the vehicle owners will have to factor in some additional expenses (such as buying a special wallbox and buying the Home Integration System and having it installed). The Ford Charge Station Pro bidirectional wallbox costs USD 1,310, but that is only the amount you need to pay if you haven’t purchased the extended version of the BEV. There is also the Home Integration System – consisting of an inverter, a transfer switch, and a battery – that costs USD 3,895. However, this list is still missing one all-important aspect: installation (the cost of which varies from one region to the next). Furthermore, since power outages are a frequent occurrence in some areas of the U.S., the vehicle can be used as a powerful emergency generator.

Which car brands are V2X-enabled

GM

GM is also conducting research into bidirectional charging together with PG&E. “GM’s collaborative relationship with PG&E is another step in our electrification strategy to make our electric vehicles a reliable source of mobile energy. Our teams are working hard to swiftly scale this pilot project and make bidirectional charging technology available to our customers,” commented Mary Barra (CEO of GM). The timetable has been drawn up. Initial V2H testing has already begun with various GM vehicles such as the Cadillac Lyriq and the GMC Hummer EV. Soon there are also plans to conduct larger-scale field trials with customers.

Honda

The Japanese car manufacturer has made its battery-electric models V2G-capable. But only with 3.7 kW and in conjunction with a special charging station. A trial has been ongoing since September 2022 in collaboration with V2X Suisse Mobility to test a bidirectional CCS plug by distributing a total of 50 Honda e cars to 40 stations in Switzerland in a large-scale field trial. In conjunction with the charging specialists at EVTec, a V2H solution can already be implemented with the Honda e. It should be expandable with a software update. After all, the Japanese car manufacturer has already initiated V2G functionality together with The Mobility House and showcased it at CES 2019.

Hyundai

Hyundai’s Ioniq 5 is V2L-capable due to the E-GMP platform with up to 3.7 kW. It is only a small step in the direction of V2G – Pilot projects are already underway. In Germany, the South Korean manufacturer forms part of the V2H project CRADLE (Centre for Robotic-Augmented Design in Living Experiences) in Berlin, which uses modified Ioniq 5s that act as domestic electricity buffers. The Dutch city of Utrecht is initially planning to connect 25 Ioniq 5s to the power grid. The V2G fleet is expected to subsequently grow to 150 vehicles. The South Koreans already announced a few weeks ago that they plan to incorporate V2G capabilities into a production vehicle ex works. In all likelihood, the vehicle in question will be the Ioniq 7. Since most Kia BEVs are based on the same architecture, it is quite likely that the technology will be transferred to the Ioniq 5 and Ioniq 6. In South Korea, the local energy supplier is planning to integrate all Hyundai / Kia electric cars into the power grid from 2024 onwards and to pay customers for this.

Mercedes-Benz

EQS – the flagship EV – has bidirectional charging capabilities. However, it is only available in Japan at present, since the CHAdeMO plug that is predominant there already has this functionality built in. This isn’t the case yet with the local CCS system, but this problem should be solved by the middle of the decade at the latest. Successful implementation will presumably take place sooner, as lawmakers passed ISO 15118-20 in April 2022. Since EQE – the little brother – and the EQS SUV use the exact same technology, it should be the same for these models.

Mitsubishi

Mitsubishi began implementing V2G in its vehicles several years ago, hence why the Outlander plug-in hybrid and the Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross are equipped with this system. Since the Japanese car manufacturer is part of the Renault-Nissan Alliance, this knowledge will also be incorporated into the other brands’ technology pool.

Nissan

Nissan is one of the pioneers when it comes to bidirectional charging. The Japanese car manufacturer is a global leader – with more than 500 vehicles involved in V2X projects. This is almost to-the-letter implementation of the “Ambition 2030” strategy, which centers around not only vehicle fleet electrification, but also around charging infrastructure and charging management. “With Ambition 2030, we will usher in a new era of electrification, further develop technologies to reduce CO2 emissions and tap into new business opportunities” , clarified Makoto Uchida (CEO of Nissan). This also includes V2X applications. 

Back in 2018, the Japanese car manufacturer partnered with The Mobility House to initiate a project in Hagen, Germany, that demonstrated a Nissan Leaf’s V2G potential by approving the electric car for frequency containment reserve (FCR) in accordance with the transmission grid operators’ guidelines. The Nissan Leaf “earned” a good EUR 20 per week as a result. In the summer of 2021, a Nissan Leaf on Rhode Island earned about USD 4,200 using the V2G application1. In addition to the Leaf, the e-NV200 panel van (which is closely related in technical terms) also has V2G capability. 

In the UK, Nissan has joined forces with energy company Octopus, among others, with respect to V2G. In a pilot project, 135 Leaf owners are scrutinizing bidirectional charging under everyday conditions. For example, they are charging their Nissan Leaf at night so they can then lessen the load on the power grid when needed. This should usually be done between 4 p.m. and 7 p.m. (when demand for energy is highest). The pilot project does more than just demonstrate the stabilizing effects of a V2G fleet in a smart grid. Another outcome is the lowering of the minimum capacity required for electric vehicles to participate in the UK’s Balancing Mechanism (BM) (National Grid ESO). This is an online auction that is open all hours and where thousands of orders are placed daily to balance energy supply and demand.

Volkswagen AG

VW / Porsche / Skoda / Audi / Seat

All VW ID. models with the 77-kWh battery are “BiDi ready”, according to the VW Group. This is true both of newly manufactured vehicles and ones that have already been delivered. The latter are qualified by means of an over-the-air update. This was done with software version 3.1.0, which was rolled out from September 2022. The initial focus will also be Vehicle-to-Home (V2H). “Although feeding into the grid (V2G) is still missing from the appropriate regulatory framework, it is naturally the medium-term goal,” commented a Group spokesperson. A special “DC wallbox” is required to enable bidirectional charging. “We as a company are currently working on this matter with both our internal and our external partners, so we can make this hardware available to as many customers as possible as quickly as possible,”, was the statement issued from Wolfsburg. However, a DC wallbox such as this is incomparably more expensive than the common AC models that many customers have already installed.

Together with TransnetBW (a transmission grid operator) and the consulting company “Intelligent Energy System Services” (IE2S), Porsche has launched a pilot project in which five series-production Taycans were connected to the power grid over the Porsche Home Energy Manager (HEM) both in a domestic environment and under laboratory conditions.

Since Audi uses Porsche’s J1 platform or VW’s modular electric drive kit (MEB) for its models, the same applies to the Ingolstadt-based company. This is also true of the Group’s subsidiaries Škoda and Seat, whose battery-electric models are based exclusively on the MEB architecture. VW is spending a lot of money on making the MEB platform fit for the future. That includes V2G. This functionality will also be integrated into the future group architectures Premium Platform Electric (PPE) and the Scalable Systems Platform (SSP), which Porsche is also involved in.

Renault

The French manufacturer has been researching smart charging solutions and V2G for several years - also in collaboration with The Mobility House. Having already run a trial with two Renault Zoe in Utrecht, the Netherlands, Renault has made 22 uni- and bidirectional Zoes part of a smart microcosm on the Portuguese island of Porto Santo. In addition, the Megane E-Tech is technically prepared for V2G. For future models based on the new CMB-EV platform, V2G is part of the technology package.

Volvo / Polestar

When asked about V2G plans, Volvo is keeping its lips sealed: “We cannot tell you anything about this at this moment in time,” was the statement from the company’s head office in Sweden. But that isn’t the case with Polestar. The Swedes are part of a research project supported by the Swedish Energy Agency. The other partners in the nearly three-year study are Chalmers University of Technology, the energy utility company Göteborg Energi, the charging specialists at CTEK and the energy solutions provider Ferroamp. Hans Pehrson (Head of R&D and Electric Propulsion Strategy of Polestar) has high expectations of the new technology: “V2X will revolutionize power grids around the world, with thousands of electric vehicles – all connected to the grid – acting as an important part of a fully renewable energy system.” V2G forms part of the technology package for the Volvo EX90 and Polestar 3 electric SUV siblings, both of which are based on the new Scalable Platform Architecture (SPA2).

Stellantis

At the multi-brand Stellantis Group, V2G functionality has been tested on various fronts for some time now. The Peugeot iOn vehicles built from 2018 onwards and the Citroën C-Zero vehicles built from 2017 are already V2G-capable. But the other brands are making progress, too. The DrossOne project at the Mirafiori plant – together with Free2move and eSolutions – has been enabling bidirectional charging with a fleet of the Fiat 500 Es since 2021.

Toyota

V2G is definitely on the agenda for the Japanese car manufacturer. Toyota’s stationary O-Uchi Kyuden System is based on the same battery technology found in its electrified models and enables bidirectional at-home functions – even in conjunction with the photovoltaic installation. According to Toyota, the capacity is 8.7 kWh and the rated power is 5.5 kWh. The next step is a similar use of actual automotive batteries, especially since Toyota already has concepts that integrate electric vehicles into the power grid. According to the manufacturer, the Toyota bZ4X is prepared for bidirectional charging and supports both Vehicle-to-Load and Vehicle-to-Grid. The Japanese already have experience in this field. Back in 2018, Toyota Tsusho (the trading arm of the Toyota Group) and Chubu Electric Power launched Japan’s first V2G project in Tokyo, using Nuvve’s V2G platform. In the meantime, the project partners have received approval from the Japanese transmission system operator (TSO) to use this technology to stabilize the grid.

Tesla

As recently as 2020, Tesla CEO Elon Musk downplayed the soon-to-be V2G deployment in his company’s vehicles, saying “Vehicle-to-Grid sounds good but has much lower utility than people think”. The statement makes sense from both a strategic and an economic perspective, because the U.S. car manufacturer has its own stationary storage solution on offer in the form of “Powerwall” and wants to utilize its factories to capacity and earn additional money by equipping these systems with its own batteries. This fits in with Musk’s statement that Tesla Master Plan Part 3 is “going to fundamentally be about scaling”.

In Baden-Württemberg, a field trial under the name “Project PV Shift” is already underway for grid stabilization of photovoltaic installations with Tesla Powerwalls and Transnet BW (an EnBW subsidiary). “Our goal is to support the shift away from fossil fuels as quickly as possible and at a reasonable cost to power grid operations by intelligently integrating decentralized flexibilities into the grid” , explained Dr. Rainer Pflaum (CFO of TransnetBW). The project will closely examine the Powerwalls’ charging cycles to determine the extent to which they can be used to stabilize the grid.

Even though Elon Musk is reluctant to use V2G in Tesla models for primal economic reasons, the technicians at the American car manufacturer seem to be looking into the technology. During a Model 3 teardown, engineers came across a bidirectional charger that is V2G-capable except for a few missing diodes.

Why aren't all car models being built to be V2G capable?

However, the price plays a role, too. Bidirectional charging is not completely free – after all, both the software and the hardware have to be installed for it. But, at the end of the day, the earning opportunities through V2G still leave a big fat plus in the bank account. Of course, the balance varies depending on the location of use and the conditions of the power grid.

So, the V2G community is ready, and car manufacturers, the first few wallbox manufacturers and grid operators are also pushing bidirectional charging. For their own benefit – because only with controllable energy storage solutions on wheels can the power grid become smart and stable enough to reliably satisfy the many electric cars’ hunger for energy without lights going out in German living rooms.

Now, it is up to lawmakers to create the appropriate framework so that V2G becomes a reality, too. Without a clearly defined regulatory framework, all the stakeholders remain in the dark.

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