MANILA Electric Co. (Meralco) expects to complete “soon” a study that will prove whether electric vehicles (EVs) can help power the grid and help ease energy demand during times when supply is deficient.

“It will happen soon,” said Anthony Agoncillo, Meralco’s EV charging station product manager, when asked about the status of the utility’s vehicle-to-grid project.

“It’s still in the test case,” he said, referring to the partnership with Mitsubishi Motors Philippines Corp. “They’re our partners. They’re the vehicle providers for that test.”

He said test would try to prove whether the vehicle-to-grid concept is feasible, and how it would affect the power distribution utility in terms of power quality, changes in frequencies, and how safely it can be integrated into system

“We saw that one of their units, Outlander model 2019, worked for vehicle-to-grid technology. So, yes, there’s a breakthrough in terms of us proving that it can power a small room in the house,” he said.

Mr. Agoncillo said it would be far-off to consider the project as helping to ease power demand similar to Meralco’s interruptible load program in which it enlist entities with their own power generators to run their systems when the grid’s reserve power reaches critical levels.

He said globally, similar studies are also conducted to answer whether power from vehicles or from utility-scale batteries can help energize the grid, or the interconnected network of power transmission lines and substations.

“But as of now, what we can only say is what we’ve tested and what we’ve seen from Meralco [is] Mistubishi Outlander powering a small room in the Meralco power lab using a V2G (vehicle-to-grid) charging pod. So it’s not only about the vehicle itself. There’s also a necessity to put up a charging facility, a charging pod, that can draw the energy from the battery,” he said.

He said the company has yet to demonstrate the project’s viability to the Department of Energy, although the agency is aware of Meralco’s EV power lab and the vehicle-to-grid project.

“For us, again we’re really doing this mostly to be able to test EV technologies,” he said. “We’re looked at as the expert not only in electricity but also in innovations related to electricity,” he said.

“So again, these technologies like vehicle-to-grid, even the vehicle itself, the chargers, AC charging, DC fast chargers, we really try to understand what it will do because we also need to understand what will be the impact to the grid afterwards,” he added. — Victor V. Saulon