First vehicle-to-grid charging pilot in the US Midwest underway

EV Connect, a California-based software-as-a-service company, announced that it is collaborating with the Indiana-based Battery Innovation Center (BIC) and Energy Systems Network (ESN) to deploy Indiana’s first large-scale Vehicle-to-Grid capable charging system to support school bus fleet, HD truck, and other customer segment applications.

EV Connect provided the electric vehicle charging management and a 500-kW bi-directional bus-scale superchargers from Rhombus. The extended test case aims to generate data on overall battery life, the number of available cycles and an understanding of discharge rates to assist companies in the EV ecosystem in determining how V2G will impact their products and systems.

“This project is designed to deliver previously unavailable data and lessons about a technology that will quickly move into the mainstream, and the partnership with an industry leader like EV Connect is critical to generating real-world data,” said Tim O’Hara, managing director, ESN.

“Testing communications protocols, battery conditions, and uncovering the inevitable unknowns is vital for the many industry stakeholders involved in the future of V2G.” 

Bi-directional vehicle charging technology could hold promise for wholesale energy markets as the prospects around V2V (vehicle-to-vehicle), V2L (vehicle-to-load, such as campsites and construction sites), V2H (vehicle-to-home), among others, grow. The technology, however, has not been widely deployed due to a lack of integration into wholesale energy markets, the lack of real-world data about battery performance over time, and support from EV manufacturers.

This project will illuminate the challenges and opportunities of V2G technology and showcase impacts on operating characteristics and opportunities for the grid and business models around electric vehicle battery control. The data collected in the program will guide Midwest utilities and the BIC in developing forward-thinking programs and policies for grid-interactive electric vehicle battery programs, from monetization to the integration of EV batteries as part of the Distributed Energy Resources (DER) mix. 

“With the existing connection to the local ISO grid at our facility and direct collaboration with our utility provider and generator, combined, we have one of the few first of its kind platforms for advancing V2G into reality,” said Ben Wrightsman, president and CEO, BIC.

 “EV Connect is built on innovation within the electric transportation sector, so we are excited to launch this groundbreaking collaboration with the Battery Innovation Center,” said Ram Ambatipudi, Co-Founder and Vice President of Business Development and Utility Engagement at EV Connect. “By setting up an in-depth battery and V2G testing program, we can contribute to the body of science and research of V2G technology and understand how to secure communications with grid-edge assets that can best support V2G and DERMS as they start attaching to the electric grid.” 

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The Clarion Energy Content Team is made up of editors from various publications, including POWERGRID International, Power Engineering, Renewable Energy World, Hydro Review, Smart Energy International, and Power Engineering International. Contact the content lead for this publication at Jennifer.Runyon@ClarionEvents.com.

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