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FCA and Engie start work on largest-ever vehicle-to-grid plant

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles has pressed ahead with planned work on a pilot project, set to create the largest vehicle-to-grid plant in the world at its plant in Mirafiori, Turin.

By the end of 2021, the plant will be able to connect up to 700 EVs

The project was first announced by FCA in September 2019 in partnership with Italian grid operator Terna. Since then, FCA has selected Engie Eps as the technology partner for the project, to build the infrastructure, which by the end of 2021 will be able to connect up to 700 EVs.

The initiative will help stabilise grid demand, ensuring a more sustainable electricity system, while also helping to optimise operating costs of the car.

The construction site for phase 1 of the project is now open at the Drosso logistics centre, within the Mirafiori complex. The works cover an area of approximately 3,000m2 with 450m of trenches already excavated, ready to host over 10km of the cables required to interconnect the electricity grid with 64 two-way fast charging points, with an output of up to 50kW. The centralised infrastructure and advanced control system – providing Vehicle-to-Grid network services in addition to fast charging of electric vehicles – was designed, patented and constructed by Engie Eps.

Phase 1 of the project will see the installation of a total of 32 V2G columns, which will be capable of connecting 64 electric vehicles; this is scheduled for completion in July. By the end of 2021, the infrastructure will be extended to interconnect up to 700 electric vehicles, capable of providing ultrafast grid services to the transmission network operator, as well as recharging the vehicles themselves.

When finished, the project will be capable of supplying up to 25MW of regulatory capacity, putting it on track to be the largest V2G facility ever built in the world. In addition, by aggregating with other FCA assets at Mirafiori – including 5MW of solar panel capacity – this V2G infrastructure will become a true Virtual Power Plant. It will have the capability to provide a high level of resource optimisation to the equivalent of 8,500 homes and a wide range of services to the network operator, including ultrafast frequency regulation.

“The project is acting as our laboratory to experiment on and develop an offering to add value in the energy markets,” said Roberto Di Stefano, head of EMEA e-Mobility at FCA. “On average, cars remain unused for 80-90% of the day. During this long period, if connected to the grid by Vehicle-to-Grid technology, customers can therefore receive money or free energy in exchange for the balancing service offered, without compromising their mobility needs in any way. In addition, this project forms part of a broader context of the technology partnership that has stood between ENGIE Eps and FCA since 2016. The main, tangible objective of this partnership is to reduce the cost of FCA electric vehicle lifecycles, via specific offers exclusive to our customers.”

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Natalie Middleton

Natalie has worked as a fleet journalist for nearly 20 years, previously as assistant editor on the former Company Car magazine before joining Fleet World in 2006. Prior to this, she worked on a range of B2B titles, including Insurance Age and Insurance Day. Natalie edits all the Fleet World websites and newsletters, and loves to hear about any latest industry news - or gossip.