V2G, the car of the future is a battery

V2G, the car of the future is a battery


The car of the future is a battery with wheels. The new technology is called Vehicle to Grid: Enel launched it first in Denmark in August 2016, then in the UK, and carried out two more projects in April in France and Germany. Now the first V2G car charging infrastructures are also arriving in Italy thanks to a corporate electric car-sharing pilot at IIT's service in Genoa, developed by Enel Energia in partnership with Nissan Italia.

The V2G technology turns e-cars into large mobile batteries that interact smartly with the power grid, enabling, among other things, the stabilisation of power flows to promote renewable generation. Cars can accumulate energy at lower fuel consumption times and return any excess quantities. In fact, the new technology is based on bidirectional charge management: it draws energy for example from home renewable systems, and feeds it into e-cars. If necessary, it transfers it from the car to another plug-in structure or simply to the network, guaranteeing a financial return for the “giver.”

In Genoa Nissan made available to IIT two full-electric LEAF vehicles, while Enel Energia installed two V2G charging stations at the Genoa headquarters of the Institute.


“For us, a car is now a battery with wheels. The V2G system is a technology that can improve the performance of the electrical system and create value for car owners. This is consistent with Enel's vision of innovation and also contributes to creating better climatic conditions in the environment in which we live”

– Ernesto Ciorra, Enel Innovation and Sustainability Director

The age of Platform Companies 

On the one hand, more savings, on the other, higher earnings: a formula that turns both producers and consumers active players within the electricity market. This ‘Platform revolution’ is the business forefront in which Enel participates thanks to the V2G project, which replaces the traditional business model for network development. Enel acts as an ‘energy manager’ by aggregating vehicles that it does not own and giving their owners the opportunity to sell services on the energy market. National regulations enabling this type of service are still under development and the reference framework still does not allow and remunerates e-car charging and discharging operations via V2G technology in a sustainable manner in all countries.

In the initial marketing phase, Enel focused on Denmark, where barriers for access to this aggregation business are among the lowest in Europe. On 29 of August, ten Enel V2G units were installed at the Frederiksberg Forsyning utility, inaugurating the world's first commercial hub that leverages e-mobility to balance the national grid. The Danish company purchased ten e-NV200s, the Nissan zero-emission van with which Enel partnered when the announcement of the Vehicle-to-Grid project was made in Paris at the United Nations Conference on Change Climate Change 2015 (COP21). Since then, seventeen additional columns were installed in Denmark with other customers and, with the contribution of the V2G units, 270 kW of additional and network stabilisation capacity are now available. 

Enel also started experiments in the UK and Germany where the company is qualifying V2G technology with a fleet of 16 vehicles, also launching the new Gridmotion project, which started in April in France, where the sale of rechargeable vehicles grew by 42% between 2015 and 2016.

The project includes the participation of several international partners and involves some fifty e-car owners, called to test the economic benefits of the new smart charging techniques.The pilot project launched in Genoa is part of a partnership between IIT and Enel Energia that started in February of last year, when a Memorandum of Understanding was signed for research, product industrialisation and integrated application, innovative services and solutions in the field of energy efficiency and distributed generation.

Nissan and Enel Energia, besides working jointly on the development of V2G technology, signed a commercial partnership in June 2016 and in the following November launched “e-go All Inclusive,” the first integrated electric mobility deal in Italy.

“Mobility and domestic consumption - IIT Scientific Director Roberto Cingolani pointed out - are two priority areas for delivering clean and efficient energy solutions. For its development, our society can no longer disregard the rational use of energy resources, an indispensable element for human health and environmental protection."