For the more than 12 years that I have been conducting public electric vehicle information sessions, one question has been a constant, and has now grown to the point of dominating all others: “When can an EV be used to provide power to the home?”
The short answer is somewhere around 2025/6. However, the public is now quite aware of the fact that the Nissan Leaf has been built with the capacity to do so, ever since it was introduced in 2011.
(So too are Mitsubishi’s original iMiEV battery electric vehicle (BEV) and any Outlander plug in hybrid (PHEV) that are fitted with the CHAdeMO DC charging socket).
So why can’t owners of these at least take advantage of their vehicle’s design capacity to provide power to the home and grid now?
The answer there is that the DC charging socket these three cars use lost the Plug War. As a result, few systems to take advantage of this capability have become available for sale.
In addition, anything that connects to the public power system must be approved by local power supply authorities. With few systems and not many EVs with CHAdeMO charging sold in Australia, supply authorities have been slow to test and approve such systems.
South Australia, however, is in the vanguard of testing such systems – as evidenced by the recent connection of a V2G (Vehicle to Grid) system at a South Australian winery.
There, winemaker Joseph Evans has now eliminated his $6000 electricity bill. This has been done through his trial Quasar Wallbox V2G system utilising the 40kWh battery in his Nissan Leaf. (In fact, he is in profit to the tune of up to $50 a day!)
This was first reported on here at TheDriven mid last year – and the Quasar Wallbox unit used there has now been provisionally approved for installation in SA.
However, this is fine if you live in South Australia, own an EV with a CHAdeMO charging socket and with a big enough battery.
But for the majority of EV owners in South Australia whose EVs are fitted with CCS DC sockets (plus those with smaller battery Leafs, iMiEVs and Mitsubishi Outlander PHEVs) – as well as any CHAdeMO socket equipped EV owners outside of South Australia, this is not yet a possibility.
Which brings us back to the 2025/6 date I mentioned earlier. The reason I give this date? The CCS DC charging system is in the process of being developed to do full V2G – with an approximate deadline of 2025 to get there.
Given the inherent slowness of our supply authorities to approve systems that feed power into the grid, 2025/6 seems the earliest we are likely to see the first V2G approved for installation into our homes. (Personally, I suspect it will be 2027 or 2028 before reasonably priced ones will come to market here).
The other issue for approving V2G systems before that date is that CCS is going to do V2G quite differently, so the CHAdeMO systems currently available will not be compatible with CCS V2G. This means that it will not be a simple lead change to accommodate a different plug: CHAdeMO V2G systems will need to be completely replaced to suit a CCS V2G capable EV.
So all I can say regarding V2G at this stage is be patient! Despite the marketing hype, V2G is still effectively in embryonic form and the vast majority of EVs have yet to incorporate it. (But they will in just a couple of years).
Unless you live in South Australia, own a larger battery Nissan Leaf that you plan to keep for a while … plus have a use-case that can quickly recoup the V2G installation cost (currently $10k plus) – it is not (yet) worth it.
Bryce Gaton is an expert on electric vehicles and contributor for The Driven and Renew Economy. He has been working in the EV sector since 2008 and is currently working as EV electrical safety trainer/supervisor for the University of Melbourne. He also provides support for the EV Transition to business, government and the public through his EV Transition consultancy EVchoice.