‘One million EVs by 2030 equals Belgian nuclear capacity’
With one million electric vehicles in Belgium by 2030, this fleet of EVs could deliver a backup solution for the electricity grid. It could equal nearly today’s 5 MW nuclear capacity of the Thihange and the Doel powerplants combined. It’s a line of reasoning that Belgium’s major electricity supplier, Engie Electrabel keeps in mind.
It might be technically feasible, says Michael De Koster, head of innovation and e-mobility at Engie in Trends/Tendances. The idea is to use the battery of the electric car to store electricity when supply is cheap and abundant and deliver it back to the grid when demand is high.
Delivering 10 kWh a day
“An electric car could deliver up to 10 kWh of energy a day to the grid on a total battery capacity between 50 to 100 kWh,” De Koster explains. “It thinkable as most cars drive only 30 to 50 km a day on average. Back at home, the battery will still have enough charge to deliver to the grid in the peak hours before charging itself later at night.”
The car has to charge itself at the best moment for the production of electricity, beyond peak hours. These are typically between 7 and 8 a.m. and 5 and 7 p.m. “This will contribute to the flexibility of the grid and in particular in the context of renewable energy,” De Koster says.
There are two conditions to use this as a backup solution. First, the economic model has to enable it to make the installation profitable. And for that the price of electricity has to fluctuate dependant on the hour it’s produced or consumed. Cheap buying when supply is high, selling at a better price back to the grid when demand is peaking.
“And secondly there have to be enough electric cars available to have an impact on the grid,” says De Koster. “And today that’s certainly not the case.” But with Engie estimating the Belgian EV fleet around one million by 2030, this is a different picture.
Mitsubishi’s V2G solution
For now, the only car brand starting to offer a ‘vehicle to grid’ (V2G) solution is Mitsubishi with its Outlander PHEV hybrid car. Engie has done some testing with it in the Netherlands, where the model has been very popular after a generous Dutch government’s incentive that stopped in 2017.
With more than 200.000 sold in 50 countries worldwide, it’s the best-sold plugin-hybrid (PHEV) today. Mitsubishi will start to offer its ‘Dendo Drive House’ (DDH) in Japan this summer.
Solar panels and bi-directional charger
This solution combines solar panels, a home battery, and a bi-directional charger with a Mitsubishi plug-in hybrid or electric vehicle. It allows to charge the car with the solar panels and deliver surplus electricity back to the grid at a set time. Prices aren’t announced yet but could turn around 20.000 euros.
DDH should arrive in Europe by 2020. Belgian Mitsubishi importer Beherman Motors hopes to launch it that same year. He even plans a stand on the next ‘Batibouw’ show in Brussels to promote it as a home solution.
13,6 kWh battery
Today’s Mitsubishi Outlander has a maximum battery capacity of 13.6 kWh. That’s far from the 50 to 100 kWh Engie’s chief of e-mobility is referring to. He is instead thinking about EV’s like the Tesla 3 Long Range with a battery of 75 kWh.
“Nevertheless, if you follow the logical line of the argument, 10.000 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV already represent the capacity of a small nuclear powerplant”, says Daniel Nacass, CEO of Mitsubishi Motors Europe. He underlines that the Dendo Drive House system will be available with Mitsubishi’s future full-electric models too.