The UK Government has announced a £20m investment to help develop bi-directional charging technology for electric vehicles (EVs).
The investment will support vehicle-to-grid projects, aiming to create a smarter and more flexible electricity system which incorporates demand response.
Such technology will allow the growing number of EVs in the UK to draw electricity from the grid when demand is low and return it when demand is high – levelling out peaks and troughs and making the grid more efficient. The power can also be returned directly to people’s homes.
There are already 100,000 electric cars and 11,000 charge points across the UK and the Government has said that it wants nearly all cars to be zero emission by 2050.
Businesses can apply for a share of the new funding for innovative projects that support EVs to work smartly with the grid.
The £20m will be awarded to three types of vehicle-to-grid projects:
1. Feasibility studies – investigating the ways vehicle-to-grid technology can be used in the future.
2. Industrial research or experimental development – for example, to develop vehicle-to-grid charging equipment.
3. Demonstrator trials in the real-world environment – projects that trial vehicle-to-grid technology in different locations across the country.
Welcoming the announcement, Simon Edmonds, Manufacturing and Materials Director at Innovate UK, said that it presents a ground-breaking opportunity for businesses to develop the next stage of vehicle-to-grid products and services.
The competition process will start in the next few weeks, with the aim of winners being notified in December and projects starting in early 2018.