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Plymouth City Council signs up to E-Flex vehicle-to-grid trial

Plymouth City Council is to trial vehicle-to-grid (V2G) with its fleet of electric vehicles as part of the E-Flex demonstration project.

The E-Flex project will demonstrate the potential of vehicle-to-grid (V2G) technology through trials on 200 operational real-world fleet vehicles

Led by Cisco and already including partners such as Transport for London, the E-Flex project will test V2G with 200 EVs run on real-world fleets to explore the economic benefits (sign up here).

For Plymouth City Council – which has six Nissan Leaf EVs on its fleet already and plans to be carbon neutral by 2030 – the trial will enable it to explore V2G as a means of managing energy costs more effectively, whilst continuing to drive community awareness on environmental topics, encouraging businesses to become more sustainable and increase engagement across the education sector.

The trial will see the council’s existing fleet of Nissan Leafs equipped with bidirectional chargers, enabling them to take electricity from the grid and release it back when the vehicle is not in use.

V2G is commercially beneficial for users as it allows vehicles to charge at times of lower demand when energy is cheaper and release it back at times of higher demand when it is more expensive. But it will also prepare the existing charging infrastructure for an increase in the number of electric vehicles, alleviating pressure at times of peak usage on the local grid.

The latter will be a particularly key benefit for Plymouth.

“Plymouth is a particularly strained part of the grid, with Cornwall generating a lot of renewable energy but delivering this further up the country at times of high demand,” explained Dan Turner, low carbon city officer, plymouth city council. “For businesses to grow, we need to find new ways to support their energy consumption whilst reducing connection costs across the city, so the V2G concept appeals to us from a grid management perspective as well as a commercial one.”

The council will be trialling V2G with long and short term goals in mind. In the near future, it hopes to use V2G as a means of managing energy costs more effectively to free up investment for other local challenges. It also aims to improve the local services available to EV users, increasing the number of charging ports across Plymouth.

“As we are seeing in the private sector, now more than ever before, it’s crucial for towns and cities to align their future goals with sustainable industry and a plan to reduce carbon emissions,” said Maria Hernandez, head of innovation, Cisco UK & Ireland“With the potential to transform the way urban areas consume energy, V2G technology is a win-win for council fleets, business fleets and public sector services alike.”

For more details on the E-Flex project and to sign up, click here.

For more of the latest industry news, click here.

Natalie Middleton

Natalie has worked as a fleet journalist for 16 years, previously as assistant editor on the former Company Car magazine before joining Fleet World in 2006. Prior to this, she worked on a range of B2B titles, including Insurance Age and Insurance Day. As Business Editor, Natalie ensures the group websites and newsletters are updated with the latest news.