July 5, 2020

FCA and ENGIE Eps begin work on Vehicle-to-Grid pilot project

Back in September 2019, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Italy’s electricity grid operator Terna Group for the joint trialling of sustainable mobility services and technologies such as Vehicle-to-Grid (V2G) which enables electric vehicles to interact with the grid via ‘smart’ charging infrastructure.

Following that announcement, FCA selected ENGIE Eps – which develops energy technologies aimed at renewable sources and mobility – as the technology partner for the project, to build that infrastructure.

While the coronavirus pandemic has been causing chaos across the world, FCA has reported that work has begun at the FCA plant in Mirafiori, Italy on the first phase of this V2G pilot project. Once fully completed, it will be the largest plant of its kind in the world.

The initiative is aimed at two-way interaction between FCA full electric vehicles and the power grid. In addition to recharging the cars, the project will use their batteries to provide grid stabilisation services – returning stored energy to the grid when needs be. This, FCA said, represents an opportunity to optimise the operating costs of the cars – for the benefit of motorists – and a concrete possibility of contributing to a more sustainable electricity system.

The company said that the need for balancing resources in the power grid is expected to increase considerably in the future: on the one hand to support the development of renewable sources and to manage the deployment of electric vehicles. In the near future, the deployment of infrastructure for intelligent battery management will be a key element in balancing real-time energy demand and production.

V2G technology, FCA added, represents one of the strongest incentives for the spread of truly sustainable electric mobility and a pillar of a rapid energy transition in terms of accessibility to all.

Phase 1 of the project will see the installation of 32 V2G columns capable of connecting 64 electric vehicles and is scheduled for completion in July. By the end of 2021, the infrastructure will be extended to interconnect up to 700 electric vehicles, capable of providing ultrafast grid services to the transmission network operator, as well as recharging the vehicles themselves.

In its final configuration, the project will be capable of supplying up to 25MW of regulatory capacity.