Renault Launches V2G Trial Using AC Charging

François Farion

Vehicle-To-Grid From Renault

Groupe Renault has started a new trial allowing drivers of electric vehicles to give energy back to the grid while recharging at public power points. The V2G trial scheme is taking place in the Dutch city of Utrecht with 15 Renault ZOEs that are specially modified to accept a reverse charge. This will allow them to can send power back to the grid during peak usage times while aiding the strained power networks at busier times.

During off-peak times, the Renault test vehicles will be able to store energy with the Netherlands’ “We Drive Solar” providing support alongside Portuguese company, Empresa de Electricidade da Madeira. Renault aims to launch other similar pilot projects in France, Germany, Switzerland and Denmark.

Using an alternating current (AC), the vehicle-to-grid (V2G) charging points are part of a new pilot scheme that could result in EVs fitted with onboard storage units to transfer energy back to the grid that they don’t need.

According to Gilles Normand, Groupe Renault’s director of electric vehicles, “With this initiative, Groupe Renault is fully fulfilling its role as a leader in electric mobility for all and as a player in the energy transition. Vehicle-to-grid charging is a key pillar of the smart electric ecosystems that Groupe Renault has set up. We have chosen onboard technology that also optimises the cost of recharging stations and thus facilitate a large-scale development.”

Why Renault Is Using AC For Vehicle-to-Grid

As previously mentioned, Renault’s test program is using alternating current (AC) and as some of you may know, V2G was traditionally implemented through a DC line. This, of course, required the use of an expensive external bi-directional charger. Seeing as Renault hasn’t yet used DC fast charging, the bi-directional charging will be done on three-phase AC (Type 2 inlet) using a reversible on-board charging modulator. In fact, the next-generation Renault ZOE will get CCS Combo for the first time.

Renault believes that having an onboard charger/inverter drawn to V2G, infrastructure adaptation and overall implementation costs could be minimal. This V2G pilot scheme essentially has two goals – to measure large-scale feasibility and potential gains. Judging from initial reports, the French automaker is certainly on the right track.

These particular pilot schemes will help Renault with the following:

  • Highlight the technical and economic advantages of installing onboard solutions in electric vehicles
  • Demonstrate in no uncertain terms the real value of services provided for the local and national electricity grid. This includes encouraging the consumption of solar and wind energy, checking the grid’s frequency or tension and to reduce infrastructure costs
  • Test the regulatory framework of a mobile energy-storage scheme, identify any potential pitfalls and offering viable solutions
  • Establish common standards which are the basic requirement for an industrial-scale roll-out of such a scheme

Vehicle-to-grid charging (V2G) is also referred to as reversible charging. It modulates the charging and discharging of electric-vehicle batteries according to users’ needs and the grid’s supply of available electricity.

Charging reaches the maximum level when electricity supply exceeds demand which notably occurs during peak production of renewable energy. However, electric vehicles can also inject electricity into the grid during peak consumption times. EV’s can, therefore, double as units of temporary energy storage and become key contributors to the development of renewable energy.

V2G charging can support the electricity grid by optimising the supply of local renewable energy and reduce infrastructure costs. Customers can also enjoy greener, more economical electricity consumption while being financially rewarded for serving the electricity grid.

It may be some time before South Africans can fully enjoy the benefits of electric vehicles and fast charging but it’s certainly something worth investing in. Keep an eye on our blogand follow us on Facebook to keep updated on all the latest news from the automotive world.

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