Smart Transport

Bidirectional EV charging trial begins

electric vehicle charging

A consortium of energy, mobility and technology companies has launched a vehicle-to-everything (V2X) bidirectional charging trial.

The Inflexion consortium brings together Kaluza, Volkswagen Group UK, OVO Energy and Indra to develop V2X business models and rewarding customer propositions that it hopes will increase electric vehicle (EV) affordability and adoption.

V2X technology enables drivers to power their home with their EV, leverage their EV as a backup power source during outages, and sell surplus energy back to the grid, helping to reduce their energy and mobility costs while accelerating decarbonisation.

Equally, V2X provides energy suppliers and utilities with the opportunity to engage drivers in the energy transition through innovative services and manage the impacts of EV adoption at scale alongside increasing renewable generation.

Inflexion, part of the Government funded V2X Innovation Programme, marks what is believed to be the first real-world use of bi-directional charging using combined charging system (CCS) technology – to enable compatibility with most modern EV models - optimised by software such as Kaluza’s.

Energy and climate minister, Graham Stuart, said: “We want to make smart charging an easier choice for drivers of electric vehicles, whether that is charging on the driveway, at the workplace, or parked on the street.

“To do that we need to build new network infrastructure at pace, using the latest available technologies.”

The programme aims to prove the power of the technology with the latest Volkswagen Group CCS vehicles and prioritise engagement with Volkswagen Group brands and OVO Energy customers to ensure the solution delivers for EV drivers’ needs.

Stuart continued: “Today's plan sets out how we will work with Ofgem and industry to kickstart the market for smart charging, which we are backing it up with £16 million in innovation funding. This will let people take control of their energy usage, in the most convenient and low-cost way.”

The consortium will build on a deployment of domestic vehicle-to-grid (V2G) devices powered by Kaluza’s software and Indra’s hardware that enabled drivers to earn around £420 a year with some earning up to £800 for selling their EV’s energy back to the grid.

Inflexion’s V2X will empower future EV drivers to unlock further potential from their vehicles, including to power their homes, and through CCS compatibility, enable millions more drivers to reap the benefits of this, regardless of which EV they own.

It builds on Kaluza's charging software for V2X and grid services, developed over the past four years.

Scott Neuman, CEO at Kaluza, said: “V2X will have a transformative effect on decarbonising our energy system but only if we make it accessible and affordable for all.

“Inflexion is an exciting step for the industry to engage and learn from real EV drivers and bring this game changing technology closer to true, commercial scale.”

The programme is being funded by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) and delivered by Innovate UK.

V2X is part of the up to £65m Flexibility Innovation Programme, funded from the £1 billion BEIS Net Zero Innovation Portfolio.

Phase one of the project, which will focus on the development of the V2X charging solution, will begin in September.

Alistair Shields, group commercial services director at Volkswagen Group UK, said: “At a time of increased focus on energy security, we are excited to be working with Kaluza and other market leaders on this trial programme to test the acceptance and benefits for both our customer and the overall UK energy system.”

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