During the 2020 Budget unveiled tonight, the Government has announced a $5 million investment in 2020-21.
This money will be used to establish an Advanced Manufacturing Facility in South Australia, which will:
- Facilitate the manufacturing and assembly of electric vehicles
- Bi-directional vehicle-to-grid trial in South Australia to examine the concept and operation of systems that support solar home charging, grid services and virtual storage infrastructure.
Vehicle-to-grid technology is something automakers like Nissan have been big proponents of, with V2G being one of the key selling points of the new Nissan Leaf.
Sending power back to the grid, from the battery in your car, is something that presents an opportunity and challenges.
At Tesla’s recent Battery Day event, Elon Musk was asked if his vehicles would support it. Musk was fairly cold on the idea, questioning the concept of relying on your car’s battery to power your home during a blackout, given your car may not be home at the time.
Naturally companies selling home energy storage products and electric vehicles would love to sell you one of both.
Nissan’s pitch is also one of collaboration with energy providers, to create a virtual power plant using electric vehicles. This would work by having an arrangement where you get really cheap (if not free) recharging if they can borrow power from your vehicle while you don’t need it.
An example of this could be someone getting home at 5:30PM and plugging in their car. Normal usage means you need that car ready to go at 7PM the next morning. This means the energy company could use the remaining power in the battery during peak periods (say 6-9PM) to power your neighbours’ homes, then charge your car’s battery during off-peak times, when energy is cheaper.
Ultimately this raises the question about the Government investment. If companies like Nissan are already spending millions on it, what is the $5 million going to exactly? We look forward to more detail.