How Drivers Can Earn Money Just By Parking Their Electric Cars

Nissan has been working with utility companies in Italy and Denmark to start a new vehicle-to-grid infrastructure. This would give EV owners the ability to cash in on excess energy while also helping to keep the surge of EVs from causing a grid crash.


May 25 2019, Updated 7:58 p.m. ET

Today, it's becoming more and more common for people to make extra money by using their car for a second purpose. Driving with a rideshare service, such as Uber or Lyft, is particularly common, as it gives drivers a way to make money on a car that is otherwise sitting in their driveway. Interestingly, electric vehicles can generate some extra money without even needing to move. That's right: Thanks to the Parker Project, owners can now park their cars at charging stations to generate some extra power and some cash. How does this work? Excess power that goes back into the grid can give owners thousands of dollars per year.

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Nissan Motors is working with electricity and gas company Enel Energia to monitor supply and demand with electric vehicles in Denmark. There have been concerns that a surge in electric vehicles could impact electrical grids. With too much energy being drawn out as more and more cars are charging up, it could cause blackouts. This spawned the Parker Project.

Based on Bloomberg’s projections, electric vehicles will surpass internal combustion engines in 2038. Looking at it from a different perspective, there will be a demand of “1,800 terawatt-hours in 2040 from just 6 terawatt-hours now.” That’s a stunning growth of 300 times the current amount.

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Nissan Europe’s Director of Energy Services, Francisco Carranza, backs up those worries when the major switch happens, explaining, “If you blindingly deploy in the market a massive number of electric cars without any visibility or control over the way they impact the electricity grid, you might create new problems.”

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However, electricity that’s pulled in from a car battery has the potential to be taken back out. This would be no different on the surface than the battery backup solutions that homes installed with solar panels are adding. Because of this, a trial run was given to Denmark residents to back up their excess energy at a stall and get some money by doing so.

Manager of the Parker Project, Peter Bach Anderson, related it to the aforementioned Uber or Airbnb, telling Lorraine Chow of EcoWatch that it’s a useful way to give out what’s not being used, stating, "You can compare it to Airbnb where you have an asset, in this case not an apartment or a room, but a car, and you want to make the most out of that asset by letting someone else use it as well when you are not using it.”

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As noted in an Enel Energia press release back in May, the first vehicle-to-grid infrastructure opened up at the Italian Institute of Technology in Genoa. The electricity and gas company has now launched 10 V2G chargers and 10 Nissan e-NV200 electric vans around Denmark. According to Bloomberg, owners made up to $1,530 annually by taking advantage of this service.

The movement will be coming to the United Kingdom. There’s already nine V2G chargers installed at the Nissan Technical Centre Europe in Cranfield and an additional charger at Newcastle University. Having a way to give incentives for electric vehicle owners to get some cash while supplying electrical grids with more power is a win-win situation.

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