Although electric vehicles are more expensive than either hybrid or conventional cars, there could be a day when the extra cost could be offset by a vehicle’s extra battery storage capability. An EV could be an effective back-up system for the home, for instance, useful to you and your electricity company in times of high electricity demand or in the case of blackouts.
To see what might be possible, check out a recently announced trial from Nissan. It is testing a vehicle-to-building concept in Japan that draws power during peak hours. This summer, the facility at Nissan Advanced Technology Center in Atsugi City cut energy bills by 2.5% at highest demand. That equates to about 500,000 yen, or $4,859. And it’s just the start.
“The system will help encourage Nissan Leaf owners to charge their cars with electricity generated during the night, when demand is low, or sourced from solar panels,” says a press release. “This assists in balancing energy needs by supplying electricity to homes/offices during daytime, when demand is highest.”
Meanwhile, SolarCity recently rolled out an energy storage product using Tesla batteries. Aimed at business customers, the systems again reduce the need for grid power at peak periods, such as on summer afternoons when air conditioning is going full blast. Instead of taxing grid power to the maximum, businesses can draw on batteries that have stored power during off-peak periods.
Electric vehicles may continue to be expensive, but their role as grid balancers and storage devices could help mitigate the extra cost and make them more attractive to consumers.