If V2G is so great, why isn’t anyone using it?

Rosemary Barnes
12 min readJul 14, 2021
V2G is like “buy one get one free” (Canva)

I have been a long-time fan of electric vehicle-to-grid technology — V2G — because it kind of feels like buy one get one free. We buy electric cars to clean up transport system. And we get the freebie of extra electricity storage to help solve some of the big challenges related to an electricity grid supplied by a lot of variable renewables. But even though the technology holds a lot of potential, it isn’t being used on a large scale yet. That made me question: If V2G is so great, why isn’t anyone using it?

I recently had the chance to talk to Bjorn Sturmberg, who is a researcher at the Australian National University working on a V2G project called REVS: Realizing Electric Vehicle to Grid Services. That project will have 51 electric cars which are part of the Australian Capital Territory government’s fleet, and they’ll be demonstrating on this relatively large scale how V2G can work.

The idea isn’t new. There have been plenty of trials before this ANU one that have already demonstrated the capability of vehicle batteries and the two-way chargers to provide this service. In fact, the ANU REVS project uses off-the-shelf commercially available cars and two way chargers, so no new tech there. But if the benefits are so big and the technology is already available to buy, then why haven’t we seen V2G rolled out all around the world, wherever there are a lot of electric cars or anywhere that needs more electricity storage and then next.

So this question had been bothering me for a while but recently I got a chance to find out. I visited the ANU to see their first car and 2-way charger in the REVS project. And I caught up with Bjorn in the distributed energy resources lab to ask him a whole bunch of questions about V2G and what the remaining challenges are to see it go from small scale trials to mainstream rollout.

How does V2G work?

Before we get into the details, I want to quickly explain how vehicle-to-grid works. For a more detailed explanation on V2G, grid frequency and…

--

--

Rosemary Barnes

Clean technology development consultant | “Engineering with Rosie” on YouTube bit.ly/3hVkrLb