- Photo courtesy of Fermata

Photo courtesy of Fermata

Fermata Energy, a vehicle-to-grid (V2G) company, is launching an early adopter program specifically for government fleets. The program would allow participants to connect their Nissan Leafs to the grid, charge when there is low demand for electricity, and discharge electricity when there are demand peaks.

This could result in fleet operators earning “a few thousand dollars a year, or more,” said David Slutzky, president and CEO of Fermata.

Slutzky said you need three things for V2G: a bidirectional-capable vehicle, a bidirectional charger, and software to make the system work. Currently, the Nissan Leaf is the only vehicle available in the U.S. that is bidirectional-capable.

Under the early adopter program, Fermata provides one or more bidirectional chargers and software that tracks the building electrical load every two seconds. The software then forecasts when building peaks are going to happen, shooting for high-peak, short-duration periods in order to not tie the vehicle up for too long.

“If we know that there is a very lucrative peaking event, we let the fleet operator know that during this time window — maybe it’s 20 minutes, maybe it’s an hour — you can make X dollars if you leave the car plugged in,” Slutzky explained.

The vehicle is typically left with enough charge — usually 80% — so that drivers can use it at any time. It will be up to the fleet manager to determine whether to send that vehicle out during a peak event, or assign the driver another vehicle and earn money from discharging the electricity.

The bidirectional 25-kW charger provides much faster charging than a typical Level 2 6-kW charger, Slutzky said.

The company is searching for up to eight public fleets to become early adopters. The fleet would get two UL-certified, no-cost chargers

“Government fleets are ideal for us for a couple of reasons: One, government fleet vehicles tend to be underutilized, even more so than other fleet vehicles. And two, governments are more likely to care about climate change and sustainability issues than an average fleet operator,” Slutzky said.

Facundo Tassara, director of fleet and business development, said this program will allow the company to collect more live field data. Interested operations would need to complete an online V2G suitability analysis. 

Last year, the company completed a frequency regulation pilot program with the City of Danville, Va., using four Leafs. Slutzky said through that program, the city made $1,500 per vehicle, per year. Since that program, the company has developed the ability to do additional things, which he said will result in more savings.

Public fleets interested in the program can visit the Fermata Energy website.

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