Schemes which allow electric cars to power people’s homes are being given almost £30 million in Government funding, the Department for Transport said.
The funding has been awarded to 21 “vehicle to grid” projects, in which plug-in vehicles could deliver electricity from their batteries back to the “smart” grid to light homes and power businesses.
Projects will demonstrate how the energy stored in the batteries could help meet peak demand, before the cars and vans are recharged during off-peak periods so they are ready to be driven when their drivers need them.
The schemes include EDF Energy’s V2GO programme in Oxford, which will use 100 electric fleet cars and vans, from a number of organisations including several delivery and taxi companies.
Making the switch to electric vehicles in the city will help improve air quality and reduce local emissions.
The V2GO project will develop, test out and assess potential business models for how fleet operators could use electric vehicles and whether they are suitable for vehicle to grid charging.
Transport Minister Jesse Norman said: “As the number of electric vehicles grows and their battery capabilities increase, there is a huge opportunity for them to make a significant contribution to a smart grid.
“These projects are at the cutting edge of their field.
“Just like the visionary designs of Brunel and Stephenson in transport, they could revolutionise the ways in which we store and manage electricity, both now and in the future.”
Dan Bentham from EDF Energy said: “Electric vehicles will play an important role in the future of UK energy and its economy.
“They will have a beneficial impact on the environment by reducing emissions and improving air quality.
“Through our research, EDF Energy will use new technologies, business models and smart systems to make low carbon transport, and the infrastructure and market conditions needed for its success, a reality.”
Winners of the competition for Government funding include SSE Services, Nissan, OVO Energy, Octopus Energy, Cisco, Flexisolar and AT Kearney.
The Government funding will cover up to 70% of project costs for industry-led collaborative research and development projects in electric vehicle to grid technology.