Welcome to the future, the good version. Many thanks to reader Darrel Clarke for pointing this story out.
A two-way street with these hybrids
April 28, 2007 (LA Times)
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Pacific Gas & Electric Company, one of the dominant California utilities
PG & E demonstrated vehicle-to-grid (V2G) technology using a Toyota Prius. This breakthrough concept allows vehicles plugged into electrical outlets to be used as storage for intermittent energy sources such as solar and wind.
The demonstration took place in April.
The demonstration took place in San Francisco (though commuters might need a little more juice this month for the long lines wending around the Bay Bridge interchange destruction).
- Developments in battery technology, especially lithium-ion battery technology, facilitate the development of V2G and render questions about Chevron’s possibly conspiratorial motives for holding nickel-metal hydride battery technology off the market moot.
- A V2G capacity allows plug-in hybrids to do much more for consumers than merely reduce fuel consumption, a good enough benefit on its own to justify the technological adaptation. In addition, plu-in hybrids with V2G capacity could be charged at night, when electrical rates are cheapest, benefiting owners with greater savings. Perhaps most importantly, though, the V2G technology becomes a “vehicle” for storing massive amounts of energy – in gazillions of individual car batteries – from clean sources such as wind and solar, without incurring the cost of creating a storage infrastructure. This is the insight behind the push by Plug-In Partners, an alliance of cities and organizations pushing for more plug-in hybrids as a means of access to clean electricity.
- The extra storage capacity also protects against unexpected grid failures.
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PG&E environmental spokesman Keely Wachs: “If such technology ever made it to mass production, plug-in hybrid owners could recharge their batteries at night, when most electric rates are lower…Then on hot days, when demand for power soars, owners not using their cars could plug them in and transfer electricity from the batteries to the commercial grid. Utility companies would pay hybrid owners for that power, and at the higher daytime rate…Plug-in hybrids also could provide their owners with emergency power to run refrigerators, lights or air conditioners during power outages…”