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OVO's V2G charger to help create "a massive, moving hyper-intelligent energy system"

  • 31 October 2019
  • 21 replies
  • 654 views
OVO's V2G charger to help create "a massive, moving hyper-intelligent energy system"
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Vehicle to Grid (V2G) technology making headlines

 

Some members of our community already have them in their homes - others are keen to get one. OVO’s V2G chargers ‘which turns electric cars into “batteries with wheels”’ have been called out in an article today, as an important technology for the future energy system of the UK.

 

We want to know what our V2G trialists think - leave a comment below about your first hand experience of this potentially game changing technology! 

@larryj @IanJBelper @garodthomas @Delboy @Andy Woodland @djriot @Fadden @Mikeyoung @MaximumFish @tready @aaronr @Leo Moran @Justeco @Ajerthebadger @piersjk @LoobyLou1 @garystokey 


21 replies

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When you are one of the first families to trial someone’s, you expect to face a few problems along the way. Some have needed a fair amount of patience to overcome, but it’s getting there and I’m really starting to see this technology working well. Nothing but praise for those working on making it happen. Personally I feel this technology is vital to us achieving Net zero carbon, and central to our countries energy systems many tools to make electricity properly sustainable. 

 

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Hi Tim and team.

My V2G was installed at the start of July this year. The installation team were great no problems on the day. It is coming up four months now and apart from several times when the charger has stopped working everything has been okay. The charger stopping working has been a simple press of the on button to resume and to date has not caused me any issues. The app is great and is evolving I even helped recently with a test of a future update. Billing is not as informative as I would like but for July-September my monthly electricity has cost a tenth of the pre V2G bill. So all good there. I joined more out of a fascination for the technology and the chance to do my bit for the environment. Saving money is just a bonus :-)

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Sensing a really positive response from you both @Mikeyoung @larryj - great to hear this!

 

It helps that you’re both on board with the fact that, as a trial, we’re still in the discovery phase of pain points. Fixing these now is what’s key to scaling this technology. 

 

It’s interesting to read that Elon Musk is ‘considering the technology’ - who knows when this product might be available to more then just Leaf owners…...

For me the trial so far has been quite stressful. I am now on charger number 3, the first 2 broke down, this third unit just sits in idle mode (which according to other posts actually uses electricity), it will not charge my car (unless I press the boost button) and never exports to the grid. I have wasted almost half of my yearly holiday allowance on 8 engineer visits (2 of which were missed appointments). The support team seem to have no urgency trying to resolve the issues, they do not work weekends and appear very reluctant to arrange engineer visits, when they finally do it is usually at least 2 weeks until someone can attend. I was hoping to recover some of the money lost by signing up to a more expensive tariff by exporting a good amount of energy back to the grid and although this worked for a couple of months, it has since been impossible as my chargers have either been completely broken down or will not export. I know this is a trial, V2G is a great idea which will hopefully work out in the future, I don’t write this to put people off helping with the development of this system but from my experience so far it seems a lot of work is required before these chargers are fit for purpose. The support channels however for both OVO & Kaluza need to improve massively.

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It’s become very addictive…..I check every day to see how much I’ve uploaded and to see when it’s exporting and importing….it’s also nice to get the calculator out and see how much I made…...Gas and electric bills never interested me before but now I have an opportunity of effecting them I’m taking more interest in them and becoming a bit of a miser….beware….making money can be very enjoyable…

I’m also looking forward to getting the 62 kWh LEAF next month and seeing if I can export more energy than the 40 kWh. It presently starts exporting about 4.00pm till midnight and then imports, ready for 7.00am. I just wonder if it’ll start exporting much earlier given I’ll have 45 kW free to export rather than 28 kW…

My friend has solar panels, something which I looked at but decided against. I’m presently making twice as much as her plus I can export the same amount every day, summer or winter, unlike her panels which can only export during day light.

 

Leo

I’m also on charger number 3 but this one finally is working as it should, though it did take two to three weeks of constant chasing before Kaluza activated and/or added this charger to my account. It sounds like @djriot is having the same issue, for which I can only suggest persistent chasing to get it sorted. And then request compensation for the missed appointments, which is something that you’re entitled to.

That said, I do appreciate that it’s a trial and ironing out the bugs of the system is kind of the point. The engineers themselves have been nothing but friendly and courteous, and now that I have a working charger it is making a real dent in our energy costs thanks to our car spending most days idling on the driveway. Overall I feel lucky to have been picked to be involved. I’m generally quite suprised as to how much we get back from the exports and it’s always quite exciting to open the latest bill!

There are things that I would make better, of course:

  1. Remove the need to turn the charger on when plugging in. My wife often forgets this step, and trudging back and forth to the charger to do it is a bit of a pain regardless. If it’s possible to also turn the charger off via the keyfob (the flap open/charge release button) then so much the better!
  2. Like Leo says, it only ever seems to export between 16:00 and midnight. On days when the car sits plugged in and idling at 100% it feels like a missed opportunity for exporting.
  3. Stop logging me out of the app! I swear it wants me to login every single time I load it.
  4. More stats on the bill. Show me how much actual energy we exported as well as its monetary value.

In the end, though, it’s great. It’s always a pleasure to see the little export lights going on the charger, and it’s a nice feeling in the evenings when you’re cooking, running the dishwasher/washing machine and the kids are using all the power in the world, but the electric meter is basically idling. Every day new electric cars are announced and I’m sure, like most converts I’d love a Tesla or something more fancy, but I sort of feel like whatever car I get next will need to support exports or it’ll feel like a downgrade.

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@MaximumFish . Perhaps I’m missing something and I’ve misinterpreted but on the evening when you are using the electricity in the house during the export period this is being drawn from the car...which you’ve already paid for in the early hours. So though the cost, in my case, of 14.45p per kWh is still being used, the car is not exporting that amount to the grid at 30p per kWh so effectively the kids having all the lights, computers, heating etc on in every room in the house is effectively losing you 15.55p (in my case) per kWh….Just a thought…

 

Leo (the miser) 

Yes you’re quite right, but any *excess* would still go to the grid. And it’s just nice to know that we’re not contributing to the peak time demand - which is more likely to come from dirty sources - seeing as we’ve already pre-loaded the energy.

That’s also why I’d like the chargers to be a bit more pro-active with the exports during the day. I get that solar generation is at peak when the sun’s out, but it’s also when businesses are busy sucking down lots of power, so surely there’s still a need for a bit of the old export? Will be interesting to see what happens duing the Winter when there’s not so much daylight.

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@MaximumFish , the time it starts exporting is regulated by the time you want the car available in the morning, in my case 7am. Change that to earlier and it starts exporting earlier as well. It just works out how long it will take to go from 100% to 25% at 3.4 kWh and then import back up to 100% for 7.00am. I suspect that when I get the 62 kWh LEAF it’ll be exporting a lot more to the grid...and a lot earlier…..at least Me and my bank manager are hoping that.

Makes sense, but it’s not how it’s advertised. All of the bumpf suggests that it’ll intelligently charge and discharge throughout the day depending on grid demand at that moment (or block of time). I’ve certainly seen it doing little bits of charging through the day, and at varying charge rates, but I’ve never seen it do the same for exports.

Userlevel 5

Eventually once the trial is complete I suspect that may be the case and that they’ll only take back the energy they need. At present, given the fact the demand various between 20-40 GW per day, our 3.4 kWh is a mere drop in the ocean and so they’re probably just fine tuning the system. But on the days when they’ve an abundance of excess during the day, it’ll be a constant import and export….but it’s all good.

We had our V2G charger installed in August and have really enjoyed using the app, checking how much money we’re spending and saving with the car. We had a replacement charger installed in September as, apparently, the first one wasn’t sending information back to their system, not that we noticed there was a problem. I would like to be able to:-

  1. use the app to control charging up to 90%, rather than 100% every time. To help conserve the longevity of the battery. 
     
  2. control when I would like to discharge 

other than that, we are really pleased and impressed with the whole system. 

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Hi @LoobyLou1 - when it comes to controlling when your device will export, I believe that you can try setting a very high minimum charge level that’ll in effect prevent it from exporting - one of our experienced users will be able to confirm if they do this and how effective it is.


Ultimately the aim of the trial is to ensure that the device is always available to export - any time it’s not exporting is time that you could be profiting on your exports!

Userlevel 5

Hello @Chris_OVO and @LoobyLou1 

To Chris…..not sure but I think Loobylou1 is talking about the maximum setting, not the minimum setting. There is a variable minimum setting of 25% below which the V2G charger will not export. However there is no maximum setting, meaning that when importing, the unit will always charge to the maximum of 100%. Most advice is that for longevity of the battery the charge should not regularly drop below 20% and import over 80% when the battery gets warm, operating in the 20-80% range. Teslas have an onboard setting whereby the car will import a maximum level set by the driver. The LEAF does not so I think the query is, can the V2G charger be set to stop charging once the car has reached  90%, something that cannot be done at present? I know this is a question a lot of users will have so thanks to @LoobyLou1 for raising it.

 

Leo

Thank you Leo. You’ve interpreted my comment exactly! Hopefully this will be implemented soon. 

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I am happy with the trial so far, I would add to the FAQs on the app about disabling schedule in the car as I was not aware that OVOs smart charger can`t charge if it is enabled and only found out about this from a post in the forum. 

I would also like to see an option to check battery management in the Kaluza app, I mean the state of health (SOH) of the battery if possible. I am still unsure about whether the trial affecting battery degradation, so once or twice a week I am using my old charger to charge to 80% only and not exporting during the day to look after the battery.

At the moment I am using the Leaf Spy pro app to check the SOH. Anyone else keeping a check/track on this and what experience do you guys have?

Userlevel 5

Hello @Andras 

Regarding the car accepting a charge, I was aware that the timer on the car restricts when it will accept a charge from the type 2 charger but as the CHAdeMO overrides this at the rapid chargers I thought it also overrode it on the V2G as well. Is that not the case? I haven’t tried it since I reset the car when the trial started.

 

As for the state of the battery I religiously monitored it for a month but sharp got sick of it when the weather got a bit cold. In that month, compared to previous months the battery appeared to degrade less than it did before the trial..

 

Leo

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Hi @Leo Moran 

It didn`t override it for me, it would make sense though!?

I am planning to monitor the battery health just once a month. So far after a month of use it looks ok, even slight improvement since my last measurement. For the moment I am reluctant to keep it connected up all the time though, what about you?

Userlevel 5

@Andras, mine is connected all the time when it’s in the garage. The import and export isn’t specific to any time. Sometimes it’ll top up from the grid just a couple of watts and other times it’ll export as well…..the majority of my export is from 3 or 4 pm till midnight and import from midnight till 7.00am but equally there have been odd occasions when it’s exported a couple of hours in the morning and from 2.00pm in the afternoon. It’s presently exporting now at 2.7kWh.

 

Leo

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I see, thank you for your answer @Leo Moran ! I tend to disconnect it in the morning and put back on when I am done with the school run.

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@Andras I suspect you’re missing out on a pound or so every day…

 

Leo

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