Christmas arrived a week early for the EV-elocity project

The final week before Christmas was exceptionally busy for the EV-elocity project as not one, not two, but three (THREE!) V2G units were installed and commissioned by our contracted specialist installers The Phoenix Works with support from project partner and back-office provider CrowdCharge.

Last year was a tough year for many and the project has certainly had its issues to overcome. Yet 2020 ended on a hugely positive note with these installations marking the first, second and third units installed by the project since its restart in mid-2020.

The three units were installed at two EV-elocity demonstration sites, both external partners recruited by Cenex; Worcestershire County Council (1st unit) and West Midlands Police (2nd and 3rd units).

Worcestershire County Council

The first charger was installed at the headquarters of Worcestershire County Council, County Hall, in their underground staff car park. The test vehicle that will be used for the trial is a 2016 Nissan Leaf, used by the council as a pool car for staff to make visits in the local area. Due to the pandemic, the council offices are currently only home to a skeleton staff. However, previous vehicle records show that even when things return to normal and the full County Hall staff return, the vehicles will be used infrequently. This means they are parked and available to be plugged in – without needing to charge – for long periods of time.

A vehicle (not the trial vehicle) connected to the V2G unit installed at County Hall, Worcestershire County Council

West Midlands Police

The two units installed in the mezzanine car park at West Midlands Police HQ will be used to charge (and discharge!) two 2016 Nissan Leafs that are part of the non-emergency response fleet based at the site in central Birmingham. These vehicles are used as pool cars by staff to attend non-urgent appointments and enquiries in the city and the surrounding area. Like the pool cars at Worcestershire County Council, these vehicles spend much of their time parked and awaiting use.

The two V2G units installed for adjacent parking bays at Lloyd House, West Midlands Police HQ

The eNovates V2G unit

All three chargers installed were supplied by eNovates, an electric vehicle charging solutions specialist based in Lokeren, Belgium. As well as providing wallbox and public charging solutions, eNovates design and manufacture a 10 kW bidirectional V2G unit. Cenex purchased five of these following a full due diligence and procurement exercise. More information on the eNovates unit coming soon.

A close up of the eNovates unit installed at Worcestershire County Council

A big challenge to get there, but a seamless process

All three installations were completed efficiently without incident within a working week by The Phoenix Works, with back-office commissioning done immediately after the units were networked by EV-elocity partner CrowdCharge.

That said, for the on-site work to progress so smoothly, a considerable amount of work by a number of stakeholders had to happen behind the scenes in preparation. Look out for a follow up article going into the nitty gritty detail on the efforts involved with preparing for the installation.

Next steps for the EV-elocity project

For now, these installed V2G units are operating as chargers only, as they await instructions from a charge and discharge schedule. The project partners are working with back-office provider CrowdCharge to design and implement a series of test operations, planned to start by the end of Q1 2021.

As mentioned before, the trial vehicles at both Worcestershire County Council and West Midlands Police spend a large proportion of their time parked, not charging, and awaiting use – making them ideally suited to V2G. The EV-elocity project will allow the battery capacity to be used proactively when stationary. One potential strategy is to use the vehicle battery to balance the building’s energy needs by storing low-carbon energy and then subsequently discharging to displace more carbon-intensive energy.

To support this, we will also be affixing an additional sticker with contact details to allow users to reach the customer support team at CrowdCharge directly.

Meanwhile, the project is preparing for the next wave of installs at a number of project partner and external sites, as well as installing telemetry in the trial vehicles. Driving data will be collected and combined with the data obtained from the V2G units to enable the project to fully understand the interaction between the energy and transport systems.

Keep your eye out for follow-on articles with more updates from the EV-elocity project as the operational phase begins shortly!

This blog was written by Samuel Abbott Sam is a Technical Specialist in the Energy Systems & Infrastructure team at Cenex. He has been using his expertise in EV charging hardware, including V2G, to manage the installations of the eNovates units for the EV-elocity project

For more infoMore CrowdCharge projects

The Project EV-elocity is part of the Vehicle-to-Grid (V2G) competition, funded by the Department for Business Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) and the Office for Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV), in partnership with Innovate UK, part of UK Research and Innovation.

In January 2018, OLEV and BEIS announced that 21 projects (8 feasibility studies, 5 collaborative research and development projects, and 8 real-world v2g trial projects) were to receive funding of £30m to develop the business proposition and the core technology to support Vehicle 2 Grid deployment in the UK, including its demonstration with large scale trials.

The projects involve more than 50 industrial partners and research organisations from both the Energy and Automotive sector, marking the largest and most diverse activities on V2G in the world, and trialling more than 1,000 vehicles and V2G charger units across UK.

The V2G projects represent a significant step towards the transition to a low carbon transportation and a smart energy system. Allowing EVs to return energy to the Power Grid when parked and plugged for charging, will increase Grid resilience, allow for better exploitation of renewable sources and lower the cost of ownership for EV owners, leading to new business opportunities and clear advantages for EV users and energy consumers.

In other news….

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