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Honda is Developing V2G Charging Tech for Electric Cars

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【Summary】Other groups developing V2G charging technology include Nissan and the UK government, supported by the country’s Clean Growth Strategy.

Michael Cheng    Dec 14, 2017 9:45 AM PT
Honda is Developing V2G Charging Tech for Electric Cars

Electric cars will disrupt the way cities manage and distribute power in urban locations. Many officials and automotive businesses view vehicle-to-grid (V2G) charging as a solution for dealing with high electricity demand during peak periods.

In the context of EV batteries, V2G refers to energy management between the local grid and an EV power cell (facilitated by the charging station).

There are several car and industrial battery manufacturers currently pioneering the applications of this technology. Honda is the latest establishment to dive into V2G charging and its related benefits. The automaker installed new EV charging hubs with V2G capabilities at its European R&D site in Offenbach, Germany. 

"With the installation of the latest bi-directional charging technology at our R&D site in Germany, we are adding the next technology to our Smart Company project, which will further enhance our research activity in the field of zero-emission society and future mobility," said Jörg Böttcher, Vice President of Honda R&D Europe.

How Does it Work?

V2G, or bi-directional charging protocols, is designed to streamline the storage and balance of power when an EV is plugged into the station. During operation, the charging hub is capable of accepting power from the grid for storage in the connected power cells.

The process also works in reverse, allowing the local grid to draw power from batteries when demand for electricity is high. This project involves many hands, including Honda R&D Europe, energy service provider The Mobility House and Swiss technology company EVTEC.

Honda R&D Europe also hosts one of the world's most advanced EV charging hubs. The units can provide up to 150 kW of power for four EVs (simultaneous charging). Moreover, the stations cater to a range of connectors for compatibility. So far, the EV charging hubs have completed over 447 sessions.

"While an EV is plugged in, the energy held in its battery can be transferred back to help stabilize the grid at times of short or surplus supply," said Honda. "Through bi-directional energy transfer, electricity is drawn from the grid or is generated by photovoltaic solar panels, and is used to charge EVs plugged in to the system."

Note that this only works when the EV is plugged into the station. Working around this limitation, Honda is developing the technology for private use inside residential garages. In addition to bi-directional charging features, the establishment is working on reducing time spent at the stations with rapid, 15-minute charging.

Patchy Solution

How reliable is V2G charging and its applications for EV owners?  

It highly depends on how the charging stations are being used. For emergency power, such as unforeseen power outages at remote sites, V2G is a feasible solution for immediate access to stored energy.

However, at the moment, this type of energy management system could be too small and intermittent (since the EV has to be plugged for V2G energy transfers) for residential or permanent use.

Other groups developing V2G charging technology include Nissan and the UK government, supported by the country's Clean Growth Strategy.

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