Fiat Chrysler launches largest vehicle-to-grid (V2G) pilot project in Italy with 700 Fiat500s

Vehicle-to-grid is a technology that allows owners of electric vehicles to leverage their battery for a secondary purpose. That purpose could be to power their own house, or more practically may involve plugging your car in when parked, and allowing the electricity company to manage how the power is managed.

FCA has announced an agreement with Engie, the operator that manages the electricity-transmission grid in Italy). Under a new pilot between the two companies, the first phase of a vehicle-to-grid (V2G) pilot project in Turin, Italy, will test potential connections of the company’s vehicles to the grid. 

In practical terms, the vehicle draws energy for recharging during off-peak periods and gives energy back to the grid when demand is high, thereby helping to balance supply and demand and to avoid blackouts.

Naturally EV owners would need to nominate when they need their car ready to go, like 7am on weekdays, but the stored energy in the car could be extracted, used to power other homes and businesses on the grid, between 8pm and 5am, earning the owner money, or at least credits. The car would then charge to the nominated level by the time the owner needs it.

While this approach would definitely put more cycles through the battery in the car, that’d be offset by an almost free supply of energy, making the ongoing cost of owning an EV much less.

FCA says the first phase of the system includes 32x V2G charging stations able to connect 64 vehicles.

For the second phase, which will lead to full-scale operation once testing has been completed, up to 700 vehicles will be able to be connected to the infrastructure.

This expansion is scheduled to take place next year and is expected to be operational in 2022. In addition, for the covered area where the vehicles connected to the V2G system are to be parked, Engie Italy is to partner with FCA in the construction of this vast parking shelter, which will feature around 12,000 photovoltaic panels. 

FCA and Engie EPS have been awarded 25 MW of capacity in order to provide the ultra-rapid frequency regulation service (Fast Reserve) to Italy’s electricity system operator (ESO), Terna.

This 25 MW is to be provided during the period 2023-2027 by way of the Mirafiori (HQ of Fiat) V2G system, with the power to be provided by the batteries of 700 new Fiat 500s parked on the lot. There will be some “second-life” batteries taken from the vehicles themselves, which are to be reused by the system rather than being thrown away.

“This is a sort of testbed for the experimentation and development of solutions to create value on the energy markets. On average, vehicles go unused for 80-90% of the day.

Throughout this period, if connected to the grid, vehicle-to-grid technology enables users to take advantage of incentivized energy rates in exchange for the balancing service they provide, and all without compromising their need for mobility.

This is a great outcome and one that unites the mobility and energy industries. This project also falls within the broader context of the technology partnership in place since 2016 between Engie EPS and FCA in e-mobility, which has the primary, practical objective of reducing total cost of ownership of FCA’s electric vehicles by way of specific offerings for our customers.”

Roberto Di Stefano, FCA’s head of Network Development and e-Mobility for the EMEA Region.

More information at FCAgroup.

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Jason Cartwright
Jason Cartwright
Creator of techAU, Jason has spent the dozen+ years covering technology in Australia and around the world. Bringing a background in multimedia and passion for technology to the job, Cartwright delivers detailed product reviews, event coverage and industry news on a daily basis. Disclaimer: Tesla Shareholder from 20/01/2021

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