Bus2Grid trial with Go-Ahead London ‘a significant step’ for EVs

Go-Ahead London’s Northumberland Park depot is set to become what is believed to be the world’s largest ‘vehicle to grid’ site under a three-year trial. The Bus2Grid project will see electric buses’ batteries charged when grid demand is low and then return electricity back to the network at times of peak usage.

The initial Bus2Grid trial will involve 28 BYD ADL Enviro400EV battery-electric double-deckers. They will be capable of returning over 1MW of energy to the national network.

Bus2Grid will explore both the commercial value and the social benefits to the energy and transport systems by developing services for the national grid, the regional distribution network operator, bus companies and transport authorities.

The Northumberland Park project is funded by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and the Office for Low Emission Vehicles. It is being led by SSE Enterprise in partnership with BYD, Alexander Dennis, Go-Ahead London, Transport for London, UK Power Networks and Leeds University.

UK Power Networks Head of Innovation Ian Cameron says that the ‘habitual’ nature of buses and the fact that battery-electric models harness a large amount of electricity means that predicting and planning for how their spare energy storage capacity can be used is easy.

“For example, we could use them as energy storage devices that could add capacity and help us to increase the volume of renewable energy exported onto the network when supply might otherwise be exceeding demand,” adds Mr Cameron.

UK Power Networks anticipates that the number of electric vehicles connected to its network will increase from 95,000 today to more than 3.6m by 2030. That will create a significant additional burden on the energy system.

It says that utilising the existing network in a smarter way will remove the need to spend heavily on new infrastructure. Battery-electric buses “have a big part to play in that,” says Mr Cameron.

Managing Director of BYD UK Frank Thorpe says that the Bus2Grid project represents “a significant step” for the BYD ADL partnership. “Exploiting the potential for electric buses to act as ‘mobile power stations’ will be crucial to the efficient running of the grid once electric vehicles of all types become commonplace.”

For more information on what Bus2Grid does, see SSE’s microsite.