Almost £10 million is to be spent on a vehicle project that could pave the way for cheaper energy and ease pressure on the National Grid.
The government cash will go on 1,000 vehicle-to-grid (V2G) charging installations to be built by a consortium led by carmaker Nissan.
The £9.8 million project will evaluate bringing electric charging to business fleets, says the Japanese firm.
The chargers will be controlled by a computer program and data collected to understand how the vehicles and electricity networks are affected.
V2G allows electric vehicles to be fully integrated into the electricity grid. Private electric vehicle (EV) owners and businesses with large EV fleets will be able to create mobile energy hubs by plugging their vehicles into the grid.
Nissan EV owners can connect to the grid to charge at low-demand, cheap tariff periods, with an option to then feed back to the grid the electricity stored in their vehicle’s battery, which could generate additional revenue for them.
The cash boost comes after Westminster awarded almost £30 million to V2G projects in its first major investment in the technology.
The consortium will also include V2G infrastructure/aggregator provider Nuvve and distribution network operator UK Power Networks. The research and analysis will be supported by Newcastle University and Imperial College London.
Francisco Carranza, managing director of Nissan Energy at Nissan Europe, said: “Nissan has been saying for a long time that the future is electric. That forward thinking led us to produce the world’s most successful mass-market EV – the Nissan Leaf.
“Today, our electric vehicles are not just transforming the way we drive, but also the way we live.
“We now look at our cars as so much more than products which simply move people from A to B – they are an intrinsic part of the way we consume, share, and generate energy. This will have a fundamental impact on the shift from fossil fuels to renewables.
“To ensure Nissan plays a wider role in the advancement and protection of our cities, our electric V2G-ready vehicles will be used as clean mobile energy units.
“Nissan has also reiterated its bold mission to offer customers free power for their EVs. V2G introduction will change the rules of the game and make energy cheaper for everyone.”
Claire Spedding, head of business development at the National Grid, said: “V2G technology presents a great opportunity to support the growth of electric vehicles and manage the anticipated increase in electricity demand.
“Energy stored in electric vehicles can be fed back into the electricity network to help manage the network at times of high demand and be an additional tool for operating Great Britain’s electricity system.
“One thousand chargers will be installed over the next three years across the electricity networks. Part of the demonstration project will include assessing whether EV owners are incentivised enough financially to provide power back to the grid when required, and help determine if any regulatory or policy interventions are required.
“It’s an exciting project and we’re delighted we’ve been successful in gaining funding to explore the opportunities of V2G technology.”