DTU acquires vehicle to grid (V2G) eBox electric car

AC Propulsion, a global leader in electric drive design, development and manufacturing, announced delivery of an AC Propulsion-powered eBox to the Technical University of Denmark (DTU), near Copenhagen. DTU’s will use the eBox to evaluate Vehicle to Grid (V2G) operation as part of a research program. The research aims to advance integration of electric vehicles (EVs) with Denmark’s electric power grid, which has extensive wind power generation capacity.

“Integration between the power grid and electric vehicles will become essential and beneficial as EV numbers increase over the next decade,” said Tom Gage, AC Propulsion CEO. The University of Delaware (UD) has developed communication and control systems for V2G technology and has had good results on the U.S. grid, Gage said. "In Denmark, UD will now shift focus to another important application of V2G research–buffering intermittent renewable energy resources. Working to integrate the power grid and EVs, as part of the Smart Grid initiative, makes economic sense because it benefits EV users and provides power back to the grid. We are happy to be working with DTU and look forward to furthering V2G implementation in Europe.”

DTU had to clear regulatory hurdles to import the eBox, which is not homologated in Europe, but the university needed an eBox, specifically, because it is equipped with AC Propulsion’s patented integrated charger. This charger allows grid-connected charging and discharging at up to 18 kW. UD and DTU are working with Nuvve, which is licensed in Europe to deploy UD control technology for aggregating EVs to provide large blocks of power. This feature is essential for DTU’s investigation of buffering the huge but intermittent power generated by Denmark’s offshore wind farms. With V2G, for example, a fleet of EVs plugged in to the gird can balance the variable ups and downs of power generated from the wind.

AC Propulsion is a pioneer in the development of V2G systems and has supplied eBox vehicles to several V2G test programs. With V2G technology, EVs that are plugged in can provide grid support functions even as they are recharging their batteries. This grid support is valuable as the EV owners get paid for the use of electricity obtained from the car. A fleet of five eBoxes has been in revenue-generating service at the UD by providing grid regulation for more than two years. The Denmark researchers will work with UD and Nuvve to investigate V2G compatibility with the European grid and determine the necessary requirements for using V2G technology with Denmark’s increasing reliance on wind energy. The eBox delivered to DTU was manufactured by AutoPort, Inc., of New Castle, Delaware, a tier 2 upfitter that does electric car conversions based on the AC Propulsion drive train and vehicle design.

The eBox delivery to DTU came on the fifth anniversary of the vehicle. “We built the first eBox in June 2006,” Gage said. “It has over 70,000 miles and still goes well over 100 miles on a charge, so we are gaining confidence in the longevity of lithium-ion batteries.”

AC Propulsion has 25 eBox vehicles in circulation with customers and vehicle test programs. Most belong to research operations at universities, utilities and car companies, but many are driven by private individuals who want a good EV with lots of power and lots of room. Tom Hanks bought the first consumer eBox in Los Angeles, there are eBox vehicles all over North America, and now, thanks to DTU, there is an eBox in Europe.

The eBox is an electric conversion designed and developed by AC Propulsion and based on the 2006 Scion xB. The Scion’s internal combustion components are removed and replaced with the AC Propulsion tzero electric drive system and lithium-ion batteries. The eBox was the model for BMW’s MINI E which uses the same AC Propulsion drive system and battery as the eBox. Late last month, a modified version of the AC Propulsion drive system was the force behind the 1st place winner, Exhibition class, at the 2011 Pikes Peak International Hill Climb where the Yokohama-sponsored EV recorded the fastest time ever for an electric car at 12 minutes and 20 seconds.