Nissan Leaf to become backup power station in Germany
In Germany, Nissan’s second generation electric car model, Leaf, has received the authorization to be linked to the public electricity grid for uploading (vehicle-to-grid) as from 2019. It’s the first car to get this permission. The car has all the necessary specifications to comply with the directives of the network administrator to supply electricity to a classic power station.
So, owners of an electric Leaf cannot only take off electricity but also provide power when there is a shortfall. The batteries of the electric car can help to keep the power grid in balance. In the first time larger fleet owners with more than sixty cars are taken into account to deliver a backup.
“Nissan is already working on this so-called ‘vehicle-to-grid’ (V2G) technology for years”, says Melvin Keuter, spokesperson for Nissan Benelux. “Until now, we only had a few pilot projects, but the German authorities’ approval is an important step for the further rollout of the technology.”
“The need for extra electricity will only increase”, explains Cedric De Jonghe, co-founder of Actility, specialized in energy flexibility. “Today we are too dependent on some big power plants but when they fail we’re confronted with a huge shortage of electricity. Thanks to the use of a smart grid and a better spread electricity supply, the network will become more flexible.”
Belgium, having two major nuclear power plants, faces problems this winter as only one reactor would be available for a period of time while the other ones are upgraded or serviced. As a ‘black out’ is possible, the Minister of Engery Marie-Christine Marghem (MR) is looking for an extra 750 MW capacity by November.
34.090 Leafs needed
Sander Hereijgers of load infrastructure provider Pluginvest points at the potential of a fleet of electric cars in such a case. “Next year a Leaf with 60 kWh will be introduced on the market. Depending on the charging station, it could upload about 22 kilowatts. It means you would need 34.090 Nissan Leafs delivering power during three peak hours, from 5 to 8 pm.”
It’s a lot of cars considering that today only 9.244 electric cars are registered in Belgium, but it’s only 6% of the total number of cars sold each year in Belgium, Hereijgers says. “With the right political choices, it could be a viable proposition.”
Belgian grid administrator, Elia, is also analyzing the use of the electric car for the grid. “Until now only industrial partners could play a part in it, now also individuals could be involved thanks to the electric car.”
In theory, this sounds great, especially when you realize that the average capacity of an electric car is 95% unused. There are a lot of obstacles, though, complicating the commercial rollout. V2G charging stations are rare, besides, there is no standard model for the different electric car models.
Japanese car manufacturers prefer an other charging infrastructure than the Europese, and Tesla even has its own ‘super charger’. On top of that, the expensive batteries of electric cars will wear out faster, and it is still a question whether a compensation for providing electricity will do to compensate the damage.