BC Hydro Announces Vehicle-to-Grid Pilot Project

December 21, 2023

BC Hydro is announcing Canada’s first vehicle-to-grid pilot project for medium and heavy-duty vehicles that will enable electricity to be pushed back to the grid from the battery of an electric vehicle (EV).

“We are excited to provide CleanBC funding to pilot projects like this that pave the way for more innovative, climate conscious solutions for powering B.C.,” said Josie Osborne, Minister of Energy Mines and Low Carbon Innovation. “The rapid rise in electric vehicle sales in recent years means we can expect to see up to 900,000 EVs in use in the next decade, and innovative vehicle-to-grid energy solutions could expand the use of EVs even further to provide more benefits to British Columbians.”

As the electric vehicle market grows, vehicle-to-grid technology can offer several exciting benefits including the ability to aid in emergency response by providing power to critical infrastructure such as schools, community centres, hospitals, and police and fire departments, during major storms or natural disasters. This technology offers a cleaner and more flexible alternative to diesel generators, and delivering backup energy to meet peak demand in extreme heat or cold events.

“The average car is parked 95 per cent of the time, and with of the evolution of technology solutions like vehicle-to-grid, stationary vehicles hold the potential to become mobile batteries, powered by clean and affordable electricity,” said Chris O’Riley, President and CEO of BC Hydro. “We are grateful to the Province for their support and funding, and we are proud to be working with our partners at Powertech and Coast to Coast Experiences to trial a technology that has the exciting potential to benefit communities right across B.C.”

The bidirectional charging trial project for medium-sized vehicles such as buses, and heavy-duty vehicles like transport trucks, is the first of its kind in the province, and the country. Compared to other back-up generation, these medium-sized vehicles can be mobilized much faster than traditional sources like diesel generators and they are far cleaner.

“Job creation, research, development and innovation across the clean transportation sector clearly align with our StrongerBC Economic Plan,” said Brenda Bailey, Minister of Jobs, Economic Development and Innovation. “This pilot project is one example of the many cutting-edge technologies available through clean electricity that will provide both economic and climate benefits.”

“This innovative project demonstrates B.C.’s leadership on clean energy and the huge potential advantage of electric vehicle as both clean transportation and integration with our clean grid,” said George Heyman, Minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy. “I am pleased that B.C. is home to a growing clean-energy sector and leads the country in ZEV sales. Meeting our CleanBC targets requires collaboration and innovation to reduce our emissions, supply dependable clean power and create new opportunities for British Columbians.”

BC Hydro has successfully tested a 60-kilowatt charger connecting a Lion Electric school bus from Lynch Bus Lines.The typical bus battery holds 66 kilowatts of electricity – or enough to power 24 single family electrically-heated homes for almost two hours.

“This technology offers a host of new opportunities for British Columbians – everything from feeding electricity from your personal vehicle back to your home during a power outage to powering homes off-grid in times of need,” said Pierre Poulain, President and CEO of Powertech Labs. “But bidirectional charging hubs for medium-sized vehicles and even larger vehicles in the future opens the door to so many more benefits, and as one of the largest testing and research labs in North America, Powertech is proud to be part of this first-of-its-kind trial in Canada.”

While vehicle-to-grid technology is still in the trial stage in Canada, it has been used successfully in the United States and Europe. Today, B.C. has thousands buses on its roads. If 1,000 buses were converted to electric, the buses could power 24,000 homes for two hours.

“Determined to electrify our entire fleet in North America, we are excited to be creating grid infrastructure solutions,” said Robby Safrata, CEO of Coast to Coast Experiences. “This technology will enable commercial electric fleet operators, when their vehicles are sitting idle, to create a high-power, mobile, bi-directional power plan that can support grid reliance and power homes and buildings.”


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