Ten cutting-edge electric vehicle chargers on an Australian university campus will help power its buildings, in a world-first trial.
- South Australia is the first Australian state to allow electric vehicles to connect to its grid. The trial will turn battery-powered cars into renewable energy storage devices.
- The vehicle batteries could deliver “almost a megawatt of battery power” to the university.
One Australian university will draw down power from electric cars parked on its campus in a world-first trial that could impact the way Australians fuel their homes
Ten vehicle-to-grid (V2G) electric car chargers, developed by Engie, were unveiled at Flinders University this week and will create a “virtual power plant” for staff and students with compatible electric cars.
The trial comes eight months after South Australia became the first state to allow electric vehicles to connect to its grid, turning the battery-powered cars into renewable energy storage devices.
Flinders University Vice-Chancellor Colin Stirling said the chargers, and vehicles connected to them, would help power the Bedford Campus during peak times when its 8,000 solar panels were no longer generating electricity.
“During the day, they’re a car,” he said.
“When the sun goes down and the cars are stationary, they’re a battery and a substantial battery that can drive our campus power requirements when the sun isn’t shining.”
With 10 cars connected to the new chargers, Professor Stirling said, the vehicle batteries could deliver “almost a megawatt of battery power” to the university.
South Australia Energy Minister Tom Koutsantonis said the technology being tested at the university could later prove to be a “game-changer in homes,” with electric vehicle drivers charging their cars with renewable energy during the day and using it to power their households at night.
“It is the advance we’re looking for,” he said.
“Imagine driving to work, parking in the car park, charging your electric vehicle using our abundant renewable resources, going home, the sun goes down, and plugging your motor vehicle into the house and offsetting your use at home.”
The technology, Mr Koutsantonis said, could save households on traditional electricity costs as well as between $10,000 and $15,000 on the cost of an in-home battery.
The Flinders University V2G trials are funded as part of the state government’s $3.2 million Smart Charging Trials targeting virtual power plant technology, commercial fleets, rapid charging, and putting chargers in holiday destinations and Adelaide’s central business district.
South Australia became the first state to launch vehicle-to-grid technology in 2022, with SA Power Networks permitting connections from V2G chargers in December and approving the use of Jet Charge’s bi-directional chargers in homes.
Only two electric vehicle manufacturers currently support the technology, however, with Nissan Leaf and Mitsubishi Outlander plug-in hybrid vehicles able to connect to homes and the grid.