Nuvve Vehicle-to-Grid pays EV Drivers


Electric vehicles already have a lot going for them. Their fuel savings versus gas-powered cars puts $632 in owners’ pockets every year, and their simplified powertrain reduces maintenance costs on the first 150,000 miles by $1,500 vis-à-vis internal combustion engines. Soon, another major perk of EV ownership may become widespread: vehicle-to-grid (V2G) technology, which pays EV owners to offer up their car’s battery for electricity storage and transmission.

V2G begins with the recognition that renewable energy is not available 24 hours a day: the wind isn’t always blowing, and the sun only shines during the day. To capture this energy when it’s available for use when it’s not, batteries are needed. 

Enter electric vehicles. Each EV has its own high-voltage battery pack designed for exactly this purpose. What’s more, cars, including EVs, are parked about 95 percent of the time. Doing the math, apart from the five percent that vehicles are actually being driven, they are doing absolutely nothing. V2G wants to change this by harnessing electric vehicles’ battery packs to store electrons and send them back to the grid to help supply electricity demand.

This technology offers a number of game-changing benefits. On the financial side, EV owners can generate additional income totaling hundreds or even thousands of dollars per year. Alternatively, EV owners can direct their surplus electricity to their own house or building, reducing their electricity costs. Utilities save big as well by satisfying peak electricity demand with V2G rather than expensive peaker plants. This translates to lower electricity rates for consumers.

On the environmental side, avoiding peaker plant use (which is particularly dirty) reduces power-plant pollution. Additionally, V2G incentivizes renewable energy, as EV batteries provide more places to store it. Notably, storing electricity in pre-existing batteries before mining additional lithium is a plus. Finally, V2G may be the factor that tips the scales in favor of mass EV adoption, quickening the much-needed transition away from fossil fuels.

San Diego–based startup Nuvve is at the forefront of V2G technology. Established in 2010, Nuvve has 33 full-time employees and consultants working around-the-clock on V2G. They are partnered with EDF in Europe and Toyota Tsusho in Asia and have placed more than 10,000 electric vehicles onto V2G across five continents. Their mission is,

“to lower the cost of electric vehicle (EV) ownership while supporting the integration of renewable energy sources including solar and wind.” 

To this end, they are collaborating with bus companies, building managers, municipalities, and others to transform their clients’ EVs into electricity-storing, revenue-generating, green-economy powerhouses on wheels. Currently, their operations are limited to commercial fleets, but Nuvve plans to extend its reach to domestic applications in the near future.

Importantly, Nuvve guarantees a seamless and harmless V2G experience. Nuvve’s software allows EV owners to set their desired minimum charge level from their smartphone or computer so they always have enough juice to get where they need to go. Furthermore, Nuvve’s software limits charge and discharge rates in compliance with OEM guidelines to protect against battery degradation.

While companies such as Enel, Mobility House, and Ovo have small-scale operations, Nuvve is currently the only international V2G provider. Look for the Nuvve-led V2G sector to boom in the coming decade as the technology matures and the rate of EV ownership continues to rise. 

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