UK drivers could earn £6.5 billion ($8 billion) more by selling electricity back to the grid from their electric vehicle (EV) batteries during the teatime peak of electricity demand if the government follows a high deployment scenario of an EV rollout, a new analysis from UK-based think-tank Energy and Climate Intelligence (ECIU) said Wednesday.
The analysis was published ahead of the UK's expected announcement of a Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) Mandate, a policy that will require car manufacturers to increase the proportion of cars they sell in the coming years that are electric. The announcement on the ZEV Mandate is expected on the government's 'Green Day' later this week.
'If the mandate follows the car industry's 'high' deployment scenario and encourages 'vehicle-to-grid' (V2G) technology, 13.5 million V2G capable EVs could be available to sell electricity to the grid at times of peak demand by 2035, earning their owners a total of almost £7.6 billion by that time,' the analysis said.
However, the analysis calculated that if the government continues with its current proposed targets and the rollout of V2G technology happens slowly, as few as 2.3 million V2G capable EVs could be available by 2035 and their owners could earn £1.1 billion.
This means a slow rollout of EVs could miss out taking £6.5 billion off their energy bills, according to the ECIU.
V2G technology allows electric cars to send energy back to the grid, enabling car owners to earn money by charging up cheaply overnight and selling it back at peak times, when electricity is more expensive. The ECIU said VW and Audi announced plans to introduce V2G technology, with Hyundai currently trialing it in the Netherlands.
The analysis found that by 2030, V2G could potentially provide 20 gigawatts of power, replacing 20 gas power plants at times of electricity peak demand.
'Cheaper renewable power will help to keep EV running costs well below that of petrol cars, but electric cars in turn can also support the grid during peak times,' Colin Walker, transport analyst at ECIU, was quoted as saying in the statement.
'The potential is enormous, enabling drivers to make money simply by plugging in after a day at work. This small act in turn brings down the costs of running the grid, cutting everyone’s bills and reducing the quantity of gas we need to import.'
EV sales in the UK in February rose by 18.2% year-on-year and are now the second largest category of cars sold after petrol, according to data from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders.
The latest sales figures for February show EV sales are up 18.2% year-on-year and are now the second-largest category of cars sold after petrol.
EVs are currently around 2.8 times cheaper to fuel than petrol cars, a recent ECIU analysis found.
By Nuran Erkul in London