Electric cars to power South Australian homes in new trial
South Australia has become the first Australian jurisdiction to allow private electric-car owners to send their battery’s energy back into their own homes.
Electric-car owners in South Australia can now apply to take part in an Australian-first trial which allows their battery-powered vehicles to supply power to their homes.
Electricity provider South Australia Power Networks (SAPN) has launched a trial in which the state's electric-car owners can apply for a bi-directional charger, provided the car is equipped with vehicle-to-grid (V2G) or vehicle-to-home (V2H) capabilities.
Bi-directional charging allows V2G-equipped electric cars to use their battery as a portable power supply when the grid is non-operational, or to save on electricity bills.
To obtain a Wallbox Quasar bi-directional charger, South Australian residents must apply to take part in the SAPN trial.
If approved, they will be eligible to purchase the charger from Australian firm JetCharge for about $10,000, excluding installation costs.
In Australia, V2G is currently available in only three vehicles: the Nissan Leaf electric car, plus Mitsubishi’s Outlander and Eclipse Cross plug-in hybrids (PHEV) – all of which are fitted with the Japanese ‘CHAdeMO’ charging connector.
The Nissan Leaf is powered by a choice of 40kWh and 62kWh batteries, while the Mitsubishi Outlander and Eclipse Cross PHEV’s electric motors are supplied by 20kWh and 13.8kWh packs, respectively.
Last week, Nissan’s UK division demonstrated the Leaf's V2G technology by lighting up a Christmas tree outside the Sunderland factory where the electric car was built.
In a media statement, Nissan Australia claims a South Australian Leaf owner has saved more than $6000 from his annual power bill thanks to the electric car’s V2G technology.
Joseph Evans, a winery owner in the Barossa Valley, claims the Nissan Leaf’s V2G capability – in addition to solar panels on his property – has turned his power bills into profit.
“I’ve gone from a $6000 annual power bill to making around $50 per week in profit selling my excess power back to the grid,” Mr Evans said in a media statement distributed by Nissan.
“That is more than $2500 in annual profit, from what was once a significant cost. And what’s even better is the fact that, while fuel and electricity prices are only heading in one direction – and that direction is up – my costs are fixed, and fixed at zero.
“Instead of paying for my power, I’m getting paid for my power.”
According to JetCharge, the Wallbox Quasar is pending approval to be used in Australia outside of the SAPN trial, although it has previously been trialled in the nation’s capital.
In June 2020, a fleet of 51 Nissan Leafs was distributed to the Australian Capital Territory’s energy provider, ActewAGL, and the local government.
The $6.59 million trial – named Realising Electric Vehicle-to-grid Services (REVS) – has been funded in part by the Federal Government’s Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA).
A May 2022 report on the REVS trail found the bi-directional charger was initially not certified to Australian standards, resulting in the project being delayed significantly as the Wallbox Quasar underwent the necessary hardware and software changes to be complied with local regulations.
The full results of the REVS trial are due to be published after its conclusion in March 2023.