Electric vehicles as emergency backup power


A Nissan Leaf plugged into a bidirectional charger at Gungahlin, ACT.


Sorry - I have the maximum number of students I'm able to support in 2022.

In Japan, electric vehicles (EVs) have been used to provide back-up power to community facilities following natural disasters using bidirectional charging technology. Bidirectional charging allows an EV battery to become a battery on wheels that can be discharged to the grid, to a building, or to a specific load. This gives rise to not only a large number of acronyms (V2G, V2B, V2L, V2X...), but also the ability to move energy where it is needed, opportunities to make better use of EVs, and potential new solutions to societal challenges.

We install back-up power for a wide range of reasons: to provide continuous power for critical facilities, to improve community resilience (after the Black Saturday bushfires in Victoria, generators were rolled out to care homes and other facilties in fire-prone regions), and networks have an obligation to provide contiunuous power for life-supporting loads. Typically, diesel generators are used. People are also installing their own back-up power with home batteries. Can EVs provide a cleaner, cheaper or otherwise better alternative?

The project could explore use cases for back-up power and identify real-world circumstances and technical factors where EVs could provide a viable alternative, and also explore the direct and co-benefits of doing so. It could examine how such a strategy might help ANU or other organisations reduce greenhouse gas emissions from diesel back-up generators.

Students interested in this topic will be encouraged and supported to engage and consult with industry and explore the social and real-world issues.

Contact me (kathryn.lucas-healey@anu.edu.au) to start a conversation about this topic!

Background Literature

Noel, L., de Rubens, G. Z., Kester, J., & Sovacool, B. K. (2018). Beyond emissions and economics: Rethinking the co-benefits of electric vehicles (EVs) and vehicle-to-grid (V2G). Transport Policy, 71, 130–137.





Electric vehicles, emergencies, back-up power, vehicle-to-grid, vehicle-to-anything

Updated:  10 August 2021/Responsible Officer:  Dean, CECS/Page Contact:  CECS Marketing