The University of Queensland (UQ) has launched a world-first international trial to see if the spare battery capacity in electric vehicles (EV) could be used to support the uptake of renewable energy, support the grid, and even potentially power homes in the future.
In a project co-funded by the iMOVE Cooperative Research and an Advance Queensland Industry Research Fellowship, UQ has partnered with analytics platform Teslascope to recruit Tesla owners internationally to take part in the study which will look closely at driving and charging behaviour across the globe.
Dr Jake Whitehead, E-Mobility Research Fellow at UQ, said while EVs are increasingly coming to market with more than 400km driving range, most are only driven less than 50km a day. “This provides a unique opportunity to leverage this spare energy capacity to absorb renewable energy generated in the middle of the day and overnight, and potentially even export energy to power homes and support the grid in the future using vehicle-to-grid (V2G) chargers.”.
Dr Whitehead added that with increasing numbers of EVs globally, many questions are being asked if the technology can provide other energy services. “We have a unique opportunity through this project to better understand EV driving and charging behaviour in different markets, and what are the opportunities to use EVs to provide energy services and generate extra income for owners in the future,” he said.
iMOVE managing director Ian Christensen said transport accounted for about 24% of direct CO2 emissions from fuel combustion globally, with demand for transport expected to grow significantly in the coming decades.
However, for smart charging infrastructure to deliver these benefits, EV uptake must be significantly increased, and importantly, EV owners must be willing to use their vehicles as “batteries-on-wheels”.
Dr Whitehead said the study aims to initially recruit 500 Tesla owners and use Teslascope’s platform to collect vehicle usage data – with owner’s permission – directly through the vehicle’s API. In exchange for agreeing to participate in study, users will be provided with a free 12-month premium subscription to Teslascope.
“With the support and trust of users we will be able to leverage these learnings to influence government policy, including the rollout of public charging infrastructure. We also aim to use the findings of this research address some of the common misconceptions about how EV owners use their vehicles, and highlight how this technology provides far greater benefits, than risks, to the energy sector,” concluded Dr Whitehead.
Tesla owners can express interest in participating in the trial by visiting: https://teslascope.com/research.