What is V2G?

Updated: Sep 15

As is typical of the energy industry, the Electric Vehicle (EV) world has promptly come up with a myriad of acronyms and slang, often lacking obvious definitions. Whether it's about the plug, charger, vehicle, or the mode of charging – reading an article might prompt you to start a definitions glossary. Or completely discourage you from buying an EV.

In the world of Type 1 or 2 plugs, CHAdeMO, CCS, Modes 1-4 of charging, smart charging, AC vs DC connections, smart meters and onboard chargers… V2G stands proudly as yet another non-obvious term. So… what the hell is V2G, I hear you ask?

V2G as a world of its own has been over complicated as well, with V2H, V2B, or V2X being commonly thrown around terms. The only thing that matters in all of these acronyms is the “to” (or 2). It indicates a connection and that’s all V2G is about – connecting your vehicle to another energy device, or network.

The why? and the how?

Vehicle to grid, in its simplest terms, is using the battery to power something else, in this case, the grid.

When we talk about the grid, we mean the electricity network that is all around us. The physical cables that connect energy suppliers (generators) to consumers. As an EV owner doing V2G you have the ability to be both the supplier and the consumer. All thanks to the battery because as an energy asset, it can both charge (consume) and discharge (supply).

Why would you want to do V2G and be the supplier and the consumer?

As an energy asset, your EV battery is extremely valuable. It is super fast, can be controlled remotely, it is durable, and as explained above, it can both charge and discharge.

In comparison, most other energy devices (think about your kettle, oven, or shaver) only consume – they can never supply energy because they can’t store it and also because their connection is unidirectional – in other words, it goes one way, from the grid to the device, never back.

What probably comes to mind immediately is that you can choose when to charge or discharge. You can charge when it’s cheap and discharge when it's expensive, making an energy saving. What’s more, you can provide your stored electricity to the grid. But does anyone want the energy that’s in your battery? Yes!

Hand in hand with V2G comes the topic of grid balancing. Another over complicated term, you might think, but for the intuitive economists in each of us grid balancing is simply matching electricity supply with electricity demand (or consumption). And good news – through V2G, and thanks to that amazing battery in your car, you can both supply and consume. This is important for the grid as having a significant imbalance between supply and consumption can lead, in the worst case, to blackouts.

All of this is wrapped in two letters and a number – V2G. But we like to call it Powerloop, because it makes more sense and it sounds cooler. We recognise that making your EV battery an active energy asset in the grid is extremely valuable. So we will not only give you the tools to do it (the car and the charger), explain all the acronyms along the way and help you get everything set up – we will also pay you £30/month! This is V2G in action, this is Powerloop.

2nd Floor, UK House, 164-182 Oxford Street, London W1D 1NN

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Octopus Electric Vehicles Limited is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority, firm reference number 809736, company number 10754317. Our registered address is 33 Holborn, London EC1N 2HT. Octopus is a credit broker and a vehicle hirer but not a consumer credit lender. Octopus may introduce You to a panel of third-party lenders or hirers and in such circumstances may receive a commission.