What is vehicle-to-grid (V2G) charging?

It won’t be long before your electric car will be able to sell electricity back to the grid from its batteries, helping you save even more money

One of the big developments for electric vehicles in the future will be vehicle-to-grid charging. This will allow electric vehicle owners to sell electricity back to the grid from the batteries onboard their electric cars and vans during peak periods.

This would provide the grid with surplus energy during peak hours, with electric car owners able to take advantage of lower energy tariffs during off-peak hours. Already in a trial phase, with the UK’s Department for Transport backing the technology, too, it won’t be long before V2G becomes a reality.

V2G charging explained

Electric vehicles are already able to charge from the grid thanks to normal three-pin charging plugs, home wallbox chargers and public charging stations. In the future, the idea is that those with a home wallbox charger, for example, can supply electricity back to the grid.

This will be made possible by new technology that allows the vehicle to discharge its batteries via the charging unit back to the grid. Instead of a one-way system, the charging unit will act as a two-way system supplying energy back to the grid when needed.

Energy providers would incentivise owners with a small fee per kWh. The price difference between the fee and the cost of recharging your electric vehicle during off-peak hours would be the profit made from V2G charging.

V2G charging will be essential for the future as the UK’s reliance on the energy grid will only increase in the future.

When can we see V2G charging in the UK?

Nissan and energy supplier OVO have already launched a 1,000-unit V2G charging trial in the UK. Participation takes two years and it's currently open to Nissan Leaf-driving OVO customers only, but the company estimates a £305 annual energy bill saving for users.

At the same time, the UK Government has pledged £30 million in funding towards V2G charging. The funding is split across 21 different projects, to pay for “research and design and development, with the aim of exploring and trialling both the technology itself and commercial opportunities.”

The Government is also working on a separate trial in Oxford using a fleet of 100 vehicles with V2G charging technology.