A Vehicle-to-Grid or V2G pilot project is set to commence in Gothenburg in the first half of the next year. The trial will involve up to 200 Polestar 3 cars, positioning it as one of Europe’s most massive V2G pilots.
The project’s objectives include studying standardisation across different systems and technologies, a crucial step toward realising the full potential of V2G.
V2G technology facilitates bidirectional charging, enabling both the charging of the electric vehicle battery, and the transfer of stored energy from the car’s battery back to the power grid. Through this innovative approach, electric cars will be used not only as consumers but also as contributors to the electrical system.
Polestar is collaborating with various key partners, including the Swedish National Grid authority Svenska kraftnät, local grid owner Göteborg Energi Nät, regional energy distributor Vattenfall Eldistribution, home charging provider Easee, and research partner Chalmers University of Technology.
Together, they aim to empower electric car owners to bolster the grid during idle times and uncover viable business models as well as societal solutions to unlock the full potential of this transformative technology.
“Vehicle-to-grid will have an impact on the electrical grid and how our customers can actively participate and contribute to increased stability in the grid,” said Peter Söderström, head of innovation and market outlook at Vattenfall Eldistribution.
“The car will become a natural element and a potential resource for this. V2G will also influence how electricity grid companies plan their grids in the future.”
Renewable energy sources, like wind and solar, face challenges related to weather dependency and lack of storage capabilities. To address this, flexible energy storage solutions are essential to balance supply and demand without extensive grid expansions.
Polestar Develops Virtual Power Plant for V2G Integration
To facilitate the integration of V2G, Polestar is also developing a virtual power plant (VPP) designed to connect all Polestar 3 vehicles linked to the grid. Operating on a cloud-based platform, the VPP assesses the combined capacity of connected batteries. It determines whether to initiate charging or discharging based on factors such as grid demand and battery longevity optimisation.
The idea behind this innovation is to empower car owners to contribute to the energy transition and make money from their parked electric vehicles without direct involvement. When an owner plugs in their vehicle, the VPP, along with smart charging technology, efficiently manages battery usage to meet transportation needs while providing support to the grid at the same time.
Alongside the Swedish Innovation Agency Vinnova-funded V2G initiative, Polestar is also teaming up with the California Energy Commission (CEC) and the energy research institute EPRI.
This collaboration, also supported by Vinnova, aims to create a roadmap for implementing V2G services in California. The study will start in December 2023 and conclude in October 2024.
“V2G technologies turn EVs into virtual power plants, making homes and the grid more resilient while putting money into the pockets of drivers,” said California Energy Commission commissioner Patty Monahan.
“The CEC is excited to have Polestar partner with innovators in California to advance their V2G plans.”
Vattenfall’s Strategic Partnership with TKF in Offshore Wind Connectivity
Continuing its commitment to sustainable energy initiatives, Swedish state-owned utility Vattenfall AB has also entered into a strategic collaboration with Dutch cable manufacturer TKF to develop inter-array cables for offshore wind projects across Europe.
According to Alexander van der Lof, CEO of TKF’s parent company, TKH Group, this partnership builds on the success of their collaboration with Vattenfall in the Hollandse Kust Zuid 1+2 projects. Now, the multi-year partnership is poised to revolutionise the connectivity infrastructure crucial for the success of offshore wind farms with bottom-fixed foundations.
Under the agreement, Vattenfall and TKF will focus on delivering cutting-edge 66 kV inter-array cables. The comprehensive framework contract, which takes immediate effect, is set to span an initial three-year duration, with the potential for a subsequent extension of up to five years.
“With this framework agreement, we are taking a major step in the synergy of project specifications and therewith in the reliability and efficiency of wind farm projects,” said Catrin Jung, head of offshore wind at Vattenfall.
Sustainability is a key focus in the cable production process. TKF is committed to reducing carbon dioxide (CO2) impact by using low-carbon aluminium and recycled copper in the cables’ conductor material. This move aims to increase the circularity of the production process.
The first project in line is the Nordlicht cluster in Germany, marking the beginning of efforts to enhance the reliability and efficiency of wind farm projects.
Elonroad’s Innovative Approach to EV Charging Infrastructure
In another development, Swedish startup Elonroad is revolutionising the EV charging landscape by embedding aluminium and rubber strips into existing roads.
These strips, when driven over by a vehicle, emit a radio signal to determine if the car is authorised to charge. If approved, the strip activates the current, allowing the vehicle to pick up the charge while on the move.
Karin Ebbinghaus, CEO of Elonroad, critiques the conventional approach of replicating gas refilling structures for EV charging points. She emphasises the need for innovative charging infrastructure to complement the shift towards electric vehicles.
“In electric vehicles, we’ve taken out the tank and replaced it with a battery, but the charge point looks the same as when you’re refilling gas,” said Ebbinghaus. “We’re just copying the old structure.”
The company proposes a unique concept of “streaming energy” akin to streaming music. This approach could reduce the necessity for high-capacity batteries, potentially lowering car costs and eliminating the need for traditional curbside charging infrastructure.
The embedded sensors in the road not only facilitate charge transmission but also track the energy consumption of vehicles. This data allows Elonroad to accurately bill customers based on their usage.
“If you drive a truck, you can drive one kilometre on the road, and you will get one kilometre of extra charge. If you’re a small EV, you get three or four kilometres,” says Ebbinghaus.
Beyond conventional roads, Ebbinghaus also sees potential applications in places like container ports, factories, or mines, particularly in scenarios where vehicles follow repetitive routes, requiring a smaller e-road footprint.
While adapting vehicles to incorporate receivers for this innovative charging method is essential, Elonroad aims to streamline the process by open-source the technology required for retrofitting, minimising potential barriers.
Governments worldwide are increasingly showing interest in this electric road innovation, driven by impending legislation, such as the European Union’s plan to ban the sale of internal combustion engine cars by 2035.
In Sweden, several pilot projects have already been initiated, with plans to electrify a motorway. Elonroad’s contribution to this initiative includes a one-kilometre road stretch in Lund, funded by the Swedish Traffic Authority.