Got Spare Juice in Your Electric Car? Sell It Back to the Grid, Earn Cash

electric scion

Electric cars have huge batteries inside ... and as a demo of a converted Toyota Scion xB has just shown, one day you may be able to earn cash by selling spare electricity stored here back to the grid in times of shortage.

The vehicle was shown at annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science just yesterday, having been put together by researches keen to demonstrate the "vehicle to grid" or V2G concept. Essentially it doubles the car's utility in terms of environmental benefits: As well as reducing the burning of fossil fuels as gasoline, spare energy fed back to the grid in times of need from the car's battery reduces the need for extra energy to be found from burning coal, oil or gas in powerstations.

The technological enhancements required to make the system work are pretty minimal and will be familiar to followers of the Smart Grid. Essentially as well as being hooked up to the main electricity when it's being charged, the car also wires up via the powerline to the Internet, whereby it communicates with a server at the power company. When the grid is suffering an energy deficit, signals would be sent to the car and its smart connector—in fact to hosts of cars, all wired up across the area—and energy would flow back to the grid from the cars themselves. The upshot for the owner, of course, is that just like when you over-produce your own energy via solar panels or wind turbines, you can actually sell this power back to the electricity company.

The system would be much more complex when it rolls out for real public use, and the most important thing would be to install safeguards and intelligent power-management systems to ensure that no one's electric vehicle is overly drained. What use would an EV be if you hopped in it to go to work in the morning only to find it out of juice because it was cold last night and everyone's electric heating demanded too much power from the grid?

[Via PhysOrg]

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  • Mark Goldes

    Super Vehicle to Grid (Super V2G) Cars as Powerful Power Plants!

    Although a Vehicle to Grid (V2G) Toyota Scion hybrid was demonstrated at the American Association for the Advancement of Science meeting February 19th. It was equipped with a 2 way plug and could sell just 10 kW of electricity, to power aggregator PJM for the local utility, at the rate of $30 per hour. PJM stated the car could earn up to $1,800 per year for its owner.

    Second generation V2G automobiles, with better batteries, might be able to provide as much as 25 kW using a two way plug. It has been estimated that owners of such vehicles might earn as much as $3,000 per year.

    We are developing what could become Third generation V2G vehicles. Steven Letendre, a V2G analyst at Green Mountain College, has termed our work Super V2G. Future cars and trucks will be able to provide up to 150 kW with a wireless connection to suitably equipped parking spaces. Payments to owners may very well be sufficient to pay for the vehicle.

    These breakthroughs may gradually make possible the elimination of the need for batteries of every variety. As a harbinger of the future, an early MagGen™ is expected to first demonstrate the ability to replace the need to plug-in a plug-in hybrid. Two kilowatts is all the power that can be taken from a typical wall socket. A pair of one kilowatt MagGens might demonstrate a compact, inexpensive, capability to end the need to plug-in. This will relieve the concern that plug-in electric and hybrid vehicles would depend on power generated using fossil or nuclear fuel.

    A SPICE™ (Self Powered Internal Combustion Engine), in hybrid cars and trucks can run when parked, spinning a generator. Fueled by small quantities of demineralized water, an ECHO™ (Energy from Collapsing Hydrogen Orbits) fueled SPICE is one of two Super V2G systems presently on the horizon.

    MagGen powered cars are expected to be capable of initially generating at least 75 kW and later 100 kW. In the case of luxury cars, trucks and buses 150 kW will prove practical. MagGen is potentially a second Chava Super V2G system.
    A substantial number of vehicles powered by MagGen, or its water sipping counterpart, an ECHO fueled SPICE, in a parking area or garage - will transform the array of parked vehicles into a multi-megawatt power plant. The average vehicle is parked 95% of the time.
    These breakthroughs will be greeted with understandable skepticism by anyone with science training. However, fractional Hydrogen, trademarked as ECHO, has had some validation at Rowan University and GEN3 Partners. More is needed. The national laboratories would be excellent venues for definitive evaluations of both fractional Hydrogen and even harder to believe magnetic generators.
    The economics are likely to prove compelling. Until now, car ownership has been an expense. Vehicle to Grid power will change that dramatically. Doubtless, when millions of cars and trucks are selling power to the grid, the price per kilowatt paid will gradually decline. However, it still seems likely that the cost of many vehicles might be paid for by utilities. The parked cars, trucks and buses, each become decentralized power plants - a rapid, cost-effective alternative to the many tough and costly environmental challenges of constructing new coal burning and nuclear power generation facilities.
    Utilities, as well as vehicle manufacturers, will have a unique opportunity to lead the nation and the world into a dramatic reduction in the need for oil. Imagine a 24/7 development program.
    The positive economic impact can hardly be exaggerated.

  • Laurent Masson

    It can be done, and it can be useful as a network balancing tool. Pretty much like a buffer, without much risk that one car will be discharged, as the network is large, with generators much bigger than a thousand cars.

    Rather than a complete discharge of a car's battery pack (which would take more than one hour), the network would barely use the car as a medium for a few seconds at a time.

    I doubt this will bring any money to the car owner...