Nissan and multinational power company Enel are planning to launch a major vehicle-to-grid (V2G) trial, which would allow electric vehicle (EV) drivers to sell stored energy from the car battery to the National Grid.

The trial will involve installing and connecting 100 V2G units at locations agreed by private and fleet owners of the Nissan LEAD and e-NV200 electric van.

Paul Willcox, chairman of Nissan Europe, said: "Today’s landmark trial in the UK is a significant step forward in renewable energy management, helping shape the future of industries, cities and societies. Smart energy management is one of the biggest challenges any nation faces for the future which is why this trial is so critical in assessing the feasibility of using variable, more flexible energy sources.

"This is the first time this has ever been done in the UK and by enabling customers to sell energy back to the grid, we’re providing a financial incentive to choose the sustainable option."

According to the company, the system would help improve the national grid capacity by allowing EV owners to connect to the grid to charge at low-demand, cheap tariff periods, and then have the option to use the electricity stored in the vehicle’s battery when costs are higher or feed the electricity back into the grid to generate additional revenue or reduce costs.

Steven Holliday, non-executive director, National Grid, said: "At National Grid we are constantly looking to the future to ensure we have the capacity to meet national energy demand – it’s our job to future proof the national transmission network.

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"The rapid uptake of Electric Vehicles is certainly positive yet could also be challenging if we don’t plan ahead to understand precisely what effect this new technology will have on the electricity system. Our Future Energy team predict that there could be up to 700,000 Electric Vehicles in 2020 requiring an extra 500MW of energy. "