English energy supplier OVO Energy has unveiled four electric vehicle (EV)-related products in a company showcase in April.
During OVO Energy’s Technology (EnTech) Product Showcase, the company introduced its proprietary platform VCharge, a domestic vehicle-to-grid (V2G) charger, a smart EV charger and a home energy storage system. The products make up the components for OVO’s vision of a distributed, domestic energy system that can be accessible and widely available to consumers.
Another item that was introduced in the event was the OVO Heat Dynamo. It is a smart-enabled, energy efficient electric heater, featuring an internet connected switch that can be retrofitted to electric storage heaters. Users can turn heating on and off and control the levels of heat via a smartphone app. OVO claims this can reduce electricity bills by up to 30% and alleviate peak demand pressure on the grid.
V2G charger and smart charging technology
The V2G charger was the frontrunner of OVO’s presentation. According to the company, it is the world’s first widely available domestic bi-directional charger, with a 6kW capacity. It offers customers the option to discharge and sell surplus energy back to the grid at times of peak demand, and the technology will enable them to do so directly from their homes.
Additionally, the company has developed a smart charger, which can likewise charge EVs when demand is lower and electricity is cheaper. Both products are envisaged as helping to relieve pressure on the grid during peak hours by changing charging patterns in the home, where the majority of EV charging takes place.
Both options of the charging system work alongside OVO’s artificial intelligence platform VCharge, which remotely connects distributed flexible electrical devices - such as an EV - and aggregates them into a virtual power plant. The connected system reacts holistically to changes in demand and supply, recognising and reacting to energy strains.
The charging options both present solutions to lessen the impact of EVs the grid, as well as making EVs more accessible and feasible for customers. OVO Energy CEO and Founder Stephen Fitzpatrick has said in a statement: “Renewable energy and electric vehicles are perfect partners for the 21st century. We’re launching the world’s first widely available vehicle-to-grid charger, helping to solve one of the biggest challenges facing the energy sector.
“We’re enabling thousands of EV batteries to help balance the grid in times of peak demand, more renewable energy to come onto the system, and households to reduce their electricity bills. This is the first step in building the distributed energy system of the future. One that is truly customer centric and built around households and their connected energy storage devices.”
Integrating energy storage solutions
Having such a range of charging options is made fully effective with an integrated energy storage solution. OVO Energy also introduced a residential battery storage system to go alongside the VSG and/or EV smart charger.
The battery comes with a custom-built control and communications unit that can manage energy and power use. It communicates with VCharge for signals on pricing and demand from the grid, then responds accordingly. As such, it will be a key enabler to store, use and sell electricity back to the grid.
The system uses a lithium-ion battery with power capacity between 4.2kWh and 10kWh; and according to OVO, it is compatible with all electric vehicles. The Home Energy Storage Solution can also provide electricity to the house as required by its occupants.
The new products are part of the outpouring of new technology aiming to solve the essential problems that come with integrating renewable energy, lowering carbon emissions and reducing reliance on fossil fuels. Such technologies align to predictions regarding the future of EVs and their impact on the electricity distribution grid - according to a paper by the European Distribution System Operators' Association for Smart Grids (EDSO), smart charging, including V2G technology, is a necessity for the EV charging infrastructure to function in a seamless and sustainable manner.
Therefore, innovations such as these emerge as key elements for a more sustainable and smooth operation of the electrical grid of the future.