Polestar, the Swedish automotive innovator, is set to overhaul the electric vehicle (EV) landscape with a pioneering large-scale Vehicle-to-Grid (V2G) project in Gothenburg, Sweden. The initiative, backed by funding from the Swedish Innovation Agency Vinnova, is poised to redefine the role of EVs in the broader electricity grid sector. At the same time, the company is working with StoreDot to bring its extreme fast charging (XFC) technology to production. Dubbed ‘100-in-5’, XFC can onboard 100 miles (160 km) of charge in just five minutes – and it's able to be integrated into battery pack formats that are already available – without necessarily needing a revolution in battery pack design. Could these two concepts be combined into a revolutionary ‘localised' electricity storage system in the future?.
Partnering with key stakeholders such as the Swedish National Grid authority Svenska kraftnät, local grid owner Göteborg Energi Nät, regional energy distributor Vattenfall Eldistribution, home charging provider Easee and research partner Chalmers University of Technology – Polestar is spearheading a comprehensive project centred around its Polestar 3 cars. The ambitious goal is to explore viable business models for V2G and trial tangible use cases that can be scalable and applicable across diverse regions.
Simultaneously, Polestar is forging an international collaboration with the California Energy Commission and the independent, non-profit energy R&D institute EPRI. Funded by Vinnova, this partnership aims to conduct a pre-study, paving the way for the implementation of vehicle-to-grid services in California, a region at the forefront of sustainable energy initiatives.
Today, most home owners looking to move across to a storage/solar situation at home, will be looking at buying up to 20kWh of expensive battery storage. The Polestar 2 comes with up to 82 kWh of storage and the Polestar 3 will have over 110 kWh. If the infrastructure and ancillary technologies were in place, that is a substantial amount of local storage.
Polestar 3 cars, equipped with bidirectional charging technology, can not only receive power but also discharge energy from their batteries back to individual homes or the electricity grid. To streamline V2G integration, Polestar is developing a Virtual Power Plant (VPP). This cloud-based system links all participating Polestar 3 cars connected to the grid, calculating collective battery capacity and initiating charging or discharging based on grid demand and battery longevity optimisation.
Thomas Ingenlath, CEO of Polestar, emphasised the transformative potential of V2G, stating, “Vehicle-to-grid has the potential to not only benefit individual customers but whole communities. With the bi-directional charging capabilities of Polestar 3 and the Polestar VPP, we can explore business models and community solutions that can unlock the true potential of V2G and enable owners to support the energy transition when they don’t need their car for driving.”
As the world moves towards accelerated electrification of mobility and industries, coupled with an expansion of renewable electricity sources, the demands on electricity grids are reaching new heights. EV batteries, particularly with V2G solutions, present an opportunity to become a crucial flexible energy resource, supporting grids and contributing to a more sustainable energy landscape.
“Vehicle to Grid will have an impact on the electrical grid and how our customers can actively participate and contribute to increased stability in the grid. The car will become a natural element and a potential resource for this. V2G will also influence how electricity grid companies plan their grids in the future,” says Peter Söderström, Manager of Innovation & Market Outlook at Vattenfall Eldistribution.
The California Energy Commission is equally enthused about the partnership, with Commissioner Patty Monahan stating, “V2G technologies turn EVs into virtual power plants, making homes and the grid more resilient while putting money into the pockets of drivers.”
The Gothenburg pilot project's test phase is scheduled to commence in the first half of 2024 and will run for two years. It aims to become one of Europe's largest V2G pilots, featuring essential representatives from national and local energy infrastructure. In parallel, the California pre-study is set to begin in December 2023 and run until October 2024.
At Polestar Day in Los Angeles, StoreDot’s XFC pouch cell charging was demonstrated alongside Polestar’s prototype battery module that integrates XFC technology. As part of the ongoing advanced engineering project, the two companies plan to demonstrate StoreDot’s XFC technology at full scale in a Polestar 5 prototype in 2024.
Thomas Ingenlath, Polestar CEO, says: “StoreDot is making huge strides forward in the development of their extreme fast charging technology and we are a proud investor and partner in its evolution. StoreDot’s pioneering extreme fast charging batteries, combined with our upcoming top-of-the-line electric powertrain, can revolutionise the ownership experience for EV owners with the ability to recharge in minutes.”
Dr Doron Myersdorf, StoreDot CEO, says: “Polestar has been one of our key investors and collaborators as we develop our XFC technology. Next year we’ll show how a full-scale battery module developed by Polestar with this revolutionary technology can be charged. Charging anxiety will soon be a thing of the past.”
Polestar, established in 1996 as Flash Engineering, rebranded as Polestar Racing, and later acquired by Volvo Cars in 2015, has its headquarters in Torslanda, Sweden. With a mission to improve society through design and technology, Polestar's online presence spans 27 markets globally. The company plans to launch five performance EVs by 2026, with Polestar 2 and Polestar 3 already making waves in the market. Polestar's commitment to sustainability is reflected in its Polestar 0 project, aiming for a climate-neutral production car by 2030 and challenging the wider automotive industry to act urgently on the climate crisis.