#COP21: The Vehicle of the Future, a Battery with Wheels

Published on Thursday, 10 December 2015

‘The objective of COP21 is to find a solution to cut greenhouse gas emissions. Such a goal is attainable, but we must focus on electric mobility,’ stated Ernesto Ciorra, Enel’s Director of Innovation and Sustainability, as he announced the multinational power company’s agreement with Nissan at Maison Varenne in Paris, during the United Nations Conference on Climate Change (COP21). The two companies have developed a Vehicle-to-Grid (V2G) system, which will allow electric vehicles to operate as actual "energy hubs", with the ability to use, store or easily return electricity to the grid, by using new technologies to manage bidirectional charging, both while driving and at charging stations.

The agreement has the potential to revolutionise the way both consumers and companies manage energy use, starting from the largest source of climate changing emissions: urban transport. ‘It's a new era for mobility. Our objective is to challenge existing paradigms and create new business models, putting the past behind us. Today, we see a car as a battery with wheels,’ Ciorra explained. ‘V2G is an important experiment to effectively provide balancing services. We are here because we believe that we cannot innovate without involving the world’s leading companies and start-ups. Our innovation mantra is to create a better world in which we all want to belong.’

V2G technology integrates electric vehicles into the power grid, thus optimising the use of “clean energy” from small renewable energy plants throughout the area. If surplus energy (compared to the needs of the power grid) is produced at a given moment in a certain area, electric vehicles can be used as a storage system in order to reuse the energy when necessary. Users can charge their car batteries at times in which energy prices and demand are lower, and then use the stored electricity or sell it to the grid during peak hours with higher prices.

‘We chose Enel as a partner for two reasons: firstly, because it is a leading energy provider and more importantly, because it shares the same thirst for innovation as Nissan,’ declared Paul Willcox, Nissan Europe Chairman. ‘In 20 years’ time, we will experience the most exciting period for the automotive industry. The electrification of vehicles will rise dramatically, leading the way. Vehicles with autopilot will be on our streets by 2020, making cars safer and easier for consumers.’