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About this book

​This book defines and charts the barriers and future of vehicle-to-grid technology: a technology that could dramatically reduce emissions, create revenue, and accelerate the adoption of battery electric cars. This technology connects the electric power grid and the transportation system in ways that will enable electric vehicles to store renewable energy and offer valuable services to the electricity grid and its markets. To understand the complex features of this emergent technology, the authors explore the current status and prospect of vehicle-to-grid, and detail the sociotechnical barriers that may impede its fruitful deployment. The book concludes with a policy roadmap to advise decision-makers on how to optimally implement vehicle-to-grid and capture its benefits to society while attempting to avoid the impediments discussed earlier in the book.

Table of Contents


Chapter 1. History, Definition, and Status of V2G

Starting with the basics, this chapter defines the conceptualization of vehicle-to-grid and reviews the three elements necessary to a vehicle-to-grid system, including a power connection, communication capability and aggregation, and the means to audit services rendered to the grid. Next, the focus turns to the services that vehicle-to-grid can and, in the future, will offer to the electricity grid, and their respective suitability. Additionally, this chapter discusses how the basic tenets of vehicle-to-grid can be applied to a variety of other neighboring concepts, such as vehicle-to-home or vehicle-to-building, each with their own benefits and costs. The chapter lastly outlines the primary and secondary actors within a typical vehicle-to-grid system.
Lance Noel, Gerardo Zarazua de Rubens, Johannes Kester, Benjamin K. Sovacool

Chapter 2. The Potential Benefits of V2G

Vehicle-to-grid has a myriad of potential benefits, though they can roughly be characterized into three central themes that align with different elements of sociotechnical systems. These themes include technical, economic, and environmental elements, and each impacts different actors and has different scopes, ranging from the individual to society. That is, V2G offers benefits in being cheaper and faster than other energy storage devices, while also offering novel economic revenues to consumers and reducing the environmental damages from both the electricity and transport sectors. Of course, many of these benefits are intertwined with other dimensions of the sociotechnical system, especially the co-evolution of the electricity grid and adoption of electric vehicles, which the chapter discusses next.
Lance Noel, Gerardo Zarazua de Rubens, Johannes Kester, Benjamin K. Sovacool

Chapter 3. The Technical Challenges to V2G

This chapter reviews the various technical challenges that vehicle-to-grid currently faces, with a richer focus on the three primary barriers: battery degradation, charger efficiency, and aggregation and communication. While none of these three barriers prevent a vehicle-to-grid system from being put into place, they are the basis for many of the other barriers in the sociotechnical framework, underscoring the importance of a nuanced knowledge of these from a technical perspective. While scaling and standardization of communication pose challenges, the implementation of algorithms may assuage all three of these barriers. The chapter lastly discusses the increasingly digitalization of society and the risks that vehicle-to-grid and other internet-of-thing technologies may pose.
Lance Noel, Gerardo Zarazua de Rubens, Johannes Kester, Benjamin K. Sovacool

Chapter 4. The Economic and Business Challenges to V2G

Building on the idea that the technical barriers of vehicle-to-grid form the basis of the other sociotechnical barriers, this chapter discusses how the technical elements of vehicle-to-grid impact its economic effectiveness. To do so, the chapter employs a cost-benefit perspective, building upon a comparison between an electric vehicle and a traditional gasoline car, later adding the costs and benefits of vehicle-to-grid. Next, recognizing the evolving nature of electricity markets, the future sources and magnitude of revenues are explored. Finally, while there are substantial economic benefits, the chapter then discusses how these costs and revenues can feasibly be translated into a viable business model. Challenges from a business model perspective include the pricing and revenue schemes, ownership structures, and the integration with other technologies.
Lance Noel, Gerardo Zarazua de Rubens, Johannes Kester, Benjamin K. Sovacool

Chapter 5. The Regulatory and Political Challenges to V2G

In order for vehicle-to-grid to viably provide services to the electricity grid and gain new revenue streams, a proper regulatory framework needs to be in place. From this perspective, there are several obstacles to the implementation of vehicle-to-grid. The regulatory framework of the electricity grid needs to acknowledge and properly regulate energy storage for vehicle-to-grid to contribute to the grid. Additionally, the legal responsibilities, actor roles, and ownership of a vehicle-to-grid system also need to be clarified from a regulatory perspective. Regulation is also essential to the economics of vehicle-to-grid, as it can develop and properly value the ancillary services which vehicle-to-grid provides, and also remove barriers such as double taxation. Finally, the chapter concludes with the political role of government in developing vehicle-to-grid.
Lance Noel, Gerardo Zarazua de Rubens, Johannes Kester, Benjamin K. Sovacool

Chapter 6. Consumers, Society and V2G

The current understanding of vehicle-to-grid from a consumer perspective is quite limited, perhaps unsurprising considering the novelty of the technology. This chapter first describes the ambivalence and overall limited awareness that consumers have towards vehicle-to-grid, and then employs three sociotechnical theories to gain a prospective understanding on how consumers will move forward. These three theories, diffusion of innovation, the social construction of technology, and the multi-level perspective, form a foundation for understanding the role of users in a transition to vehicle-to-grid systems. With this conceptualization in mind, the chapter then proffers five means of increasing consumer knowledge and acceptance: encourage user-made innovations and tinkering, accrue user experience, targeted information campaigns, involve users in pilot projects, and finally promoting the social status aspects of vehicle-to-grid.
Lance Noel, Gerardo Zarazua de Rubens, Johannes Kester, Benjamin K. Sovacool

Chapter 7. V2G Deployment Pathways and Policy Recommendations

The sociotechnical frame of vehicle-to-grid supposes that these barriers are not as disconnected as the previous chapters treat them. Instead, they form a “seamless web” that weaves together the technical, economic, political, and sociocultural elements of the system. To elaborate, this chapter synthesizes the described barriers across the various actors of the vehicle-to-grid system. Next, to respond to such a seamless web of barriers, the chapter turns to a stylized policy mix, and how each policy within this mix can be relevant to the various sociotechnical elements. Finally, looking prospectively, the chapter proposes five different potential pathways of vehicle-to-grid—conservative backlash, niche development, dirty grid, renewables, and the super-smart grid—which depend on its diffusion and the co-evolution of the electricity and transport sectors.
Lance Noel, Gerardo Zarazua de Rubens, Johannes Kester, Benjamin K. Sovacool

Chapter 8. Realizing and Problematizing a V2G Future

In this concluding chapter, we first review the three central research questions of vehicle-to-grid, namely its benefits, its barriers, and the policies required to ensure its diffusion. These themes are then compared and contrasted with current expert perspectives. Next, the chapter problematizes a vehicle-to-grid future, focusing on five elements in the context of energy transitions that could threaten the potential of V2G: equity and access, privacy and cybersecurity, affirmation of conventional automobility, vulnerable groups and pollution, and energy justice. Then, the chapter focuses on six thematic research gaps, particularly emphasizing a lack of social research in vehicle-to-grid. Finally, the chapter concludes with methodological research gaps, underscoring the need for multi-method interdisciplinary approaches to overcome transformative failures and research to broaden the cases of vehicle-to-grid systems.
Lance Noel, Gerardo Zarazua de Rubens, Johannes Kester, Benjamin K. Sovacool


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