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Vehicle to Grid “Savings” Based On Subsidised Trials–Not Real World Data

June 3, 2021

By Paul Homewood


h/t it doesn’t add up



If you wonder what dopey Emma Gatten forgot to mention, read on:




You will recall her report earlier today, which described how electric car drivers could earn £725 a year simply by selling power back to the grid. My first reaction was that the numbers simply did not stack up.

I have since looked at the actual study, Project Scirius, and I now know why.

Below is the key paragraph:



Given that the typical domestic electricity tariff is around 18p per KWh, a payment of 30p is clearly not viable for energy suppliers, particularly since they could buy the same amount of power on the wholesale market for about 5p/KWh.

The figure of 30p is clearly heavily subsidised for this tiny pilot project, presumably from taxpayer funds.

Based on the above numbers, the average export is 3200 KWh a year, giving £80/month at 30p. As the savings are £30/month, the cost of charging the car up in the first place would be £50/month, equating to 18.7p/KWh.

In short, her report considerably overstates the savings likely to accrue to electric car drivers in the real world. Indeed, many probably won’t save a penny.

Emma Gatten has grossly misled her readers by simply regurgitating the figures given to her in the press blurb, rather than doing a few easy checks herself.

Such is the shoddy standard of Telegraph journalism these days.

  1. Michael permalink
    June 3, 2021 5:45 pm

    And their car battery will also be flat… If /when I ever end with an electric car I will be very careful re “smart chargers”, keep it unplugged during peak demand times!

  2. 2hmp permalink
    June 3, 2021 6:02 pm

    There is one main experience with electric cars – waiting.

  3. David permalink
    June 3, 2021 6:05 pm

    It will probably be illegal to unplug it when you are home, such is the new mode of state control we are seeing unfolding.

    • June 3, 2021 7:38 pm

      No plug shares then. Are 2+ car households supposed to have a plug each?

  4. June 3, 2021 7:46 pm

    All an appalling bit of deception. Invent numbers and prices and viola a headline.
    My headline is that flying by helicopter is cheaper than going by train. In my desktop science survey I have used a chopper fuel cost of 3p per gallon and factored in that a four person helicopter will cost £30 on amazon. Given these figures it is clearly the way of the future for us all to use helicopters from now on.
    I would say ‘you cant make it up!’ but they clearly have!

  5. Ben Vorlich permalink
    June 3, 2021 8:11 pm

    Wouldn’t it be more cost effective to buy a Tesla power wall and use that to sell electricity back to the grid. This would have the added benefit of meaning full range for your EV however limited full charge range might be.

    • Mack permalink
      June 3, 2021 9:29 pm

      Ben, current price of a powerwall is £8,600-10,500 + VAT. More than many people’s cars are worth. You’d have better odds of earning that investment back by going down the bookies than relying on staggered payments over years from an unstable grid and power companies who move their tariff goalposts as often as climate scientists get their doom laden forecasts wrong.

      • Sobaken permalink
        June 4, 2021 10:38 am

        Powerwall seems extremely overpriced.
        You can infer battery costs from the cost difference between petrol cars and their electric counterparts. For example, BMW G20 is priced at €40k, while the electric BMW i4, which has a 81.5kWh battery, is €70k. This gives an EV battery cost of €368/kWh. Rough estimate, because the costs of electric motors and petrol engines are also different, but still, most of the excess costs of EVs are the expensive batteries.
        Meanwhile, Powerwall only has a capacity of 13.5kWh. At £10500, that’s £778/kWh.

    • It doesn't add up... permalink
      June 4, 2021 1:40 pm

      The grid pays its batteries quite well. At the moment, those offering Dynamic Containment (the fancy name for charging and discharging progressively more as the grid frequency goes further above or below 50Hz to help stabilise the supply/demand balance) are paid £17/MW per hour of availability. That works out to about £150/kW per year. So a 7kW charger ought to get £1,050 a year if the car is permanently attached, just for being available. Added profit from charging up when cheap and discharging when expensive is on top, and some batteries manage to offer other ancillary services as well to top up on income.

      Of course, the risk is that battery capacity will expand to the point where there are too many of them for the amount of very short term grid balancing needed, and the availability earnings will collapse. Batteries are far too costly to make money on longer term storage: they need effectively to turn over capacity twice daily to make a profit.

  6. Derek W Wood permalink
    June 3, 2021 8:27 pm

    One man’s “shoddy reporting” is another man’s barefaced lie. I go with the latter. This, in a nutshell is why I stopped buying the DT almost a year ago.

  7. Gamecock permalink
    June 3, 2021 10:32 pm

    I can remember when Great Britain was great. The idea of plugging your car into the grid to keep the grid going should boil your blood.

    ‘The mission is to validate the technical and commercial potential for a domestic Vehicle-to-Grid charging solution capable of providing flexibility services to electricity networks.’

    Sciurus is the genus of common squirrels. Why would you call it Project Squirrel?

    Anyone know what ‘flexibility services’ means? The Squirrels will provide it.

    As Paul said, she is a stenographer, not a reporter. When The Squirrel speaks of ‘providing flexibility service,’ she should think, “People aren’t going to know what that means. I need to ask what they mean by that, and explain it.”

    No, she just repeats it. How can she fail at such a simple task? How can you be an “environmental editor” when you can’t even edit yourself? Perry White is spinning in his grave.

    • 1saveenergy permalink
      June 3, 2021 11:35 pm

      “I can remember when Great Britain was great.”

      God, you must be old …with a good long term memory !!

      Anyway, great for who ?
      Peasant farmers, sailors & soldiers taken by the press-gangs, miners & quarry workers (life expectancy 26-30yrs, soldiers in the trenches, match girls (faces eaten away with phosphorous), 9yr old children doing 12hr shifts in cotton mills…

      Or the the elites, for who life has always been great !!

      • Gamecock permalink
        June 4, 2021 2:33 am

        Great for WHOM.

        Your indictment list is equally intelligent.

      • Phoenix44 permalink
        June 4, 2021 9:01 am

        As opposed to 9 year old children doing 14 hour shifts in the fields?

        Look at poor countries and see what Brirish children used to have to do before getting a slightly easier life for pay in factories. They weren’t gamboling with unicorns.

    • It doesn't add up... permalink
      June 4, 2021 1:41 pm

      Aren’t squirrels noted for hiding nuts?

  8. Adam Gallon permalink
    June 4, 2021 10:24 am

    The “Churnalists” don’t do any independent thinking these days.
    Emma Gatten’s qualifications to be Environment Editor? Well, in 2010, she was a newspaper journalism MA student at City University & wrote an article for the Grauniad
    I do love the last line, of the first comment.
    She’s also “Twatted” the following recently.
    “Do you live in a non-rural area and love your SUV? Please explain to me. Not for an article, I just don’t understand”
    Appears to have started her career at the St Albans & Harpenden Gazette.
    No scientific credentials I can find.

    • June 4, 2021 3:27 pm

      Ben Webster – Environment Editor at The Times – degree in English Literature.
      Emily Gosden – Energy Editor at The Times – degree in history and politics.

      Nobody knows anything about science.

  9. John Peter permalink
    June 4, 2021 4:25 pm

    I am lost in all this. I come home and my electric vehicle needs to be charged up first before I can sell back some or all of the energy. That will then happen at the expensive evening time with high demand as all my fellow electric vehicle owners have got the same idea. I then want to sell some or all of the energy back late evening when demand tapers off. I then need to get up midway through my sleep to get charged up before I set out next morning at 8 o’clock with a full charge? Getting my own energy back at a loss? Can’t figure out how this is going to earn me money, and in particular if I need to invest +/- £3,000 for the pleasure of having a two way charger. Maybe it is just me who is a bit slow in the uptake. This article is just another reason why I won’t subscribe to The Telegraph.

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