Photo by Saketh Garuda on Unsplash

The University of Queensland (UQ) will lead a major feasibility study into using the spare battery capacity of EVs to support the electricity grid, increase renewable energy uptake, and even directly power homes.

Researchers are seeking Tesla owners worldwide to participate in the study in order to take a close look at driving and charging behaviour around the globe.

E-Mobility research fellow at UQ, Jake Whitehead said with growing numbers of EVs on the roads attention is rapidly turning to how we can make the most of these batteries on wheels. 

He explained that despite most of today’s EVs having a driving range of over 400 kilometres, most were only driven around 50 kilometres a day.

“This provides a unique opportunity to leverage this spare energy capacity to absorb renewable energy generated in the middle of the day and overnight, and potentially even export energy to power homes and support the grid in the future using vehicle-to-grid (V2G) chargers,” Dr Whitehead said.

The study is being done in partnership with analytics platform Teslascope, with co-funding by the iMOVE Cooperative Research and an Advance Queensland Industry Research Fellowship. 

Data will be drawn directly from vehicles’ API (application programming interface) – with the owner’s permission – which can also be used to inform government policy on subjects like public charging infrastructure rollouts, as well as hopefully helping to address common misconceptions about EVs, proving they provide more benefits than risks to the energy sector.

Initially, Tesla owners in Australia, the United States, Canada, Norway, Sweden, Germany and the UK will be invited to take part, with the aim of recruiting roughly 500 EV owners. As more manufacturers integrate API access into their vehicles, the research will look to expand to include other vehicle brands.

“We have a unique opportunity through this project to better understand EV driving and charging behaviour in different markets, and what are the opportunities to use EVs to provide energy services and generate extra income for owners in the future,” Dr Whitehead said.

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