Vehicle-to-grid charging could prevent blackouts


As consumers purchase tens of tens of millions of electrical vehicles over the approaching decade, an enormous query looms over governments and the auto industry: Can the facility grid sustain with significantly increased demand?

“In the event you concurrently plug all of those vehicles in, it’s going to break the grid,” said Robert Stocker, an energy consulting associate at Boston-based consulting services company Charles River Associates.

Smart, two-way charging could prevent a future marked by frequent blackouts and skyrocketing energy prices, Stocker said.

A September white paper by researchers at Charles River Associates and Germany-based Hubject Consulting argues that bidirectional, vehicle-to-grid, or V2G, charging technology will probably be crucial to EV adoption and stopping the worst-case energy scenarios as EV charging demand surges.

In brief, smart vehicle-to-grid charging allows energy to flow in each directions, from the grid to the vehicle and vice versa. If enough vehicles are plugged right into a V2G charging system, that might greatly reduce the strain on the grid, as vehicles themselves could provide additional energy supply during peak energy hours.

Tons of, 1000’s or tens of millions of EVs could possibly be “coordinated to take part in grid operations and power markets,” with a third-party combining energy from EV batteries and other sources off the grid into “virtual power plants” that may supply or trade energy, the white paper’s authors wrote.

The technology to tug something like that won’t hypothetical, said Mirco Glunz, head of consulting at Hubject Consulting.

“Crucially, there is no such thing as a eureka moment that is needed anymore, from a technological perspective,” Glunz said. “This works. Like every technology, it must get well, but it can through scale.”

The quantity of energy that will probably be required to charge tens of millions of EV batteries in the long run is immense.

“On the busiest hours of the 12 months, a highway fast-charging site could require the identical amount of electricity as a sports stadium, or perhaps a small town. This demand will come from not only passenger vehicles, but electric trucks and heavy-duty vehicles from private and non-private fleets,” based on a recent study of highway charging requirements conducted by utility company National Grid.

“Fortunately, many highways overlap with the high-voltage transmission system — which might be tapped to deliver the facility that drivers will need. Constructing these high-voltage interconnections and upgrades can take years, which is why it is vital to take motion without delay,” the study said.
Preparing the grid for charging electric vehicles is a difficulty that automakers are keenly aware of. General Motors, for instance, launched GM Energy in October. It includes GM’s Ultium Home and Ultium Business lines. Each will offer services that enable bidirectional charging.

Porsche and Tesla are amongst auto brands to have recently launched V2G pilots.

Ford, meanwhile, has marketed the power of its F-150 Lightning electric pickup to power a house within the event of a blackout.

V2G technology has the potential to open up recent revenue streams for automakers as they grow to be more intertwined with the facility grid, Glunz said.

“It could be great if OEMs realized that they will actually add one other level to their product, one other use case,” Glunz said.

It is going to even be critical to get consumers on board, probably by compensating them for allowing their EV batteries to transmit energy to the grid during peak hours.

“It may be seen as almost an inconvenience, but managing to influence their behavior and educate them in order that they may really earn quite significant sums of cash from this whole V2G technology could be vital,” Stocker said.

Consumers could allow their vehicles to reply to “demand reduction signals” or go “off-grid” during peak energy hours, and in return profit from cheaper energy during nonpeak hours, based on the white paper. They might even be paid directly for having their vehicle discharge energy back into the grid in periods of supply shortages.

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