Link-U Tech is pumping electricity from EVs back into the power grid

Business & Technology

Link-U Tech, a Chinese company founded last year by a team at Tsinghua University, is trying to commercialize two-way charging stations for electric vehicles. It has competition in major Chinese EV companies like NIO.

Link U
Image from Link-U Tech via 36kr

Link-U Tech 链宇科技, a vehicle-to-grid (V2G) technology company that promises to connect electric vehicles to city power grids is on the verge of commercialization. Founded last year by a research team at Tsinghua University, Link-U may prove the next evolutionary step for electric vehicles.

  • Electric vehicles are useful for transport, but they’re also akin to mobile battery packs. Hook them up to a power supply station and they could modulate power demand peaks, facilitate electric power trading, and even offer rescue operations during power outages.
  • Through two-way charging stations, V2G can help regulate the supply and demand of electricity across a power grid. Users unload leftover energy from their car to many different locations, including homes, buildings, or other grid services.
  • Last May, Link-U Tech completed a $1.57 million angel financing round from ZhenFund, a Beijing-based venture capital firm. The funding was primarily used for product development and marketing.

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The context: V2G technology does not disrupt a consumer’s ability to charge their electric vehicle. By improving the electric power balance, energy efficiency is the main advantage of V2G’s two-way charging systems.

  • With Link-U’s research, EVs’ built-in smart coordination platforms would quickly respond to locally based electric voltage fluctuations. Therefore, demand surges in the electricity market, typically for weather-related incidents, could be handled with electricity from cars. Normally in China, these demand hikes are met with energy generated from coal.
  • Estimated final costs of EVs with this technology come in at 20% higher than conventional one-way charging stations.

The takeaway: Although Link-U has experienced recent research breakthroughs, they are by no means the only company with ambitious plans in V2G technology. NIO, a major Chinese electric vehicle manufacturer, is also a frontrunner in V2G. The company plans to update its entire line of electric vehicles with two-way charging capabilities.

EVs are a frontier technology, yet the race has already begun to build the frontier’s frontier.