China is planning to turn electric vehicles into mobile batteries that would support the grid and help bring more green power online, with trials of a new two-way charging system due to begin in major cities next year.

Four government departments including its National Development and Reform Commission have published a plan to get the two-way charging system up and running by the end of the decade.

This would see electric vehicles (EVs) connected to the electric grid through charging and swapping facilities.

These would facilitate a two-way system of both information and energy flow, according to an announcement published today (Thursday).

This would allow EVs to not only reduce charging during periods of high energy demand, but also return power to the electric grid during periods of low energy supply.

China's skyrocketing fleet of EVs would be transformed into a virtual power plant that can help power everything from office printers to the kettles in people’s homes when required.

The government said that having this flexibility in the power system will support it in bringing more new energy systems – such as wind and solar plants – online.

The government is aiming to start trialling the system through more than 50 two-way charging stations across five cities by the end of next year, it said.

The system is planned to be essentially completed by the end of the decade and ready to be rolled out on a large scale.

The government said that key tasks it faces include researching and developing core technologies, not least significantly boosting the cycle life of batteries.

It will also need to explore two-way charging and discharging power application models that effectively integrate EVs with parks, buildings, homes and other scenarios.

One in three new cars sold in China is reportedly an EV, with 500,000 sold in May last year alone.

EV makers the world over are now working on technology that will allow their cars to become part of national grids, with Ford, Honda and BMW recently teaming up in a joint venture in this regard.