The real revolution in electric vehicles: Vehicle to Everything

The real revolution in electric vehicles: Vehicle to EverythingThe real revolution in electric vehicles: Vehicle to EverythingThe real revolution in electric vehicles: Vehicle to Everything

There’s a revolution happening in vehicle electrification, but it’s not all about electric vehicles. True, they are an integral part of what’s coming, but for local authority and public fleets, the real revolution will happen when those vehicles aren’t being driven.

It will be when a gritter is powering the lights and computers in a council office. Or a bus helps supply energy to a recycling compactor. And in doing so, saving money on electricity, while also running vehicles, machines and facilities with greener energy.

It’s called Vehicle to Everything (V2X).

It’s not to be confused with Vehicle to Grid (V2G). In V2G, the energy can be taken out of an electric vehicle and be sold back to the energy suppliers. It’s useful for managing overall supply, but crucially, you’ll only get paid a fraction of the cost you paid for that electricity.

With V2X though you can, for example, buy electricity at off peak rates, store it in vehicle batteries and then re-route it back into your own ‘micro network’ of buildings, vehicles and equipment at times when power is more expensive. For an organisation or authority with closely scrutinised budgets, being able to do this will bring massive benefits.

There are other benefits too. Perhaps you’d only want to buy and store energy when it is at it greenest. With V2X, you can do this.

Of course, V2X requires vehicles that are for a start, electric, and are V2X enabled too, as well as a smart energy micro-grid to manage all of this. There are plenty of steps until all of this is reality, but it’s not as far away as you might think.

Our British designed and built Velox smart network system and ultra-rapid chargers are already V2X enabled, and we’re conducting trials in Scotland through the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy’s Flexible Innovation Programme to show how it works.

There are so many possibilities with V2X. Vehicles can be used as a power bank meaning that their downtime, usually viewed as a cost, now becomes a benefit.

Or, if you run mission-critical vehicles, such as ambulances or police cars, you can mix and match energy through a bank of ultra-rapid chargers to ensure those that need it can take energy from those that don’t.

The cost savings are where V2X will prove. Take this example. The average kilowatt-hour energy usage per square foot of office space is around 22 kWh per year – or 0.09 kWh per day – and assume you need 180 square foot of office space per person. That means you need about 16 kWh per person, per day.

Say you have a big electric vehicle such as a refuse lorry. If you can spare 100 kWh of its capacity you can use it to provide cheap, green energy to power office space for approximately six people every day.

At commercial rates of 49p per kWh, you would be paying nearly £8 per person per day taking energy straight from the grid. But if you buy that electricity at off-peak rates, store it in the vehicle and use it at peak times, you could halve that cost, or more.

Once you start extrapolating over every employee, every day, the savings start to get very big, very quickly. In this example, you’d save £47,000 in energy costs a year for an office staff of 100.

Then there’s the mobility of V2X. Many organisations are now buying batteries to supply a particular building. With V2X, you can move that energy around to wherever it is needed most.

As a result, you’ll be able to see a demonstrable return on the investment and the great thing about our Velox system is that it is also simpler to install than typical ultra-rapid chargers, which can become costly and time consuming with infrastructure, cabling and grid upgrades.

Already we’re seeing the increased electrification of specialist vehicles and that trend will gather momentum. Hand in hand though, will be the creation of smart networks in which those trucks, sweepers, plant, lorries and vans are not just fulfilling their main role, but also become a vital element of your organisation’s power supply, transforming the way you run facilities and machinery.

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