Vehicle-to-grid (V2G): Endesa develops a charger enabling electric car to return power to the grid

This technology could be a reality in 2020, and would allow electric vehicle users to sell surplus energy.

Endesa has developed a prototype V2G (Vehicle to Grid) charger that enables electric vehicles to return stored power to the grid. This is an important step in the development of smart grids, which need tools to optimise output and distribution and improve the supply and demand balance between producers and consumers.

Developed by Endesa in conjunction with the CITCEA centre of the Polytechnic University of Catalonia (UPC) and the Catalonia Institute for Energy Research (IREC), this innovative system is currently being validated in a lab before being rolled out to Endesa’s Smartcity in Malaga for testing in a real environment with real users. They hope the charger will become a reality in 2020.

Connection of the electric car to the grid has been carried out using models that are compatible with the established standards, so that this system can be tested in all commercial vehicles equipped with this technology. Endesa will be able to use the first electric vehicle of this kind in the world, the Mitsubishi i-MiEV, to carry out the trials with the V2G charger.

After a year of research, this technology now offers many advantages:

1. With just a few small adjustments, users will be able to use the electricity from their vehicles to power their homes.

2. In the future, users will be able to sell the power to the electricity market.

3. This technology will allow complementary services to be offered to the system.

Electricity is one of the few energies that cannot be stored on a large scale. The power is either consumed or lost. This means that much of the output produced by wind energy at night (which is when they are usually more active) is lost. However, all this power could be used to recharge electric cars at night, making the system much more efficient. The possibility of vehicles being able to return power to the grid when necessary -the vehicles are parked most of the time- would help improve the balance between output and consumption. The systems being developed by Endesa will help make this a reality.

Electric vehicle development at Endesa

The development of a sustainable transport policy is a cornerstone of Endesa’s 2008-2012 Strategic Sustainability Plan. In Spain, the company is involved in rolling out e-mobility projects (MOVELE project) in Madrid, Barcelona and Seville, and in major technological initiatives (Cenit VERDE, DER22@ and REVE – Regulación Eólica con Vehículos Eléctricos projects). It also recently entered into agreements with leading companies to promote e-mobility.

In Europe, Endesa is part of the Green eMotion consortium and is also the only Spanish company involved in the ELVIRE consortium aimed at developing the necessary technology, solutions and services to enable on-going interaction between drivers, their power suppliers and the smart grid. These projects also evaluate the impact of a large-scale introduction of EVs on the power grid. In Spain Endesa is taking part in the Zem2All project, a Euro 60 million initiative which will test the new services and advantages offered by e-mobility in cities on a mass scale.

Endesa was one of the first companies to join international standardisation and regulation groups for e-mobility equipment, systems and solutions. It is also European chair of CHAdeMO, the Japanese association that provides fast charge services for EV users and is aimed at expanding the installation of these recharging points worldwide and setting recharge standards.

By José Santamarta,