As Tesla’s possible purchase of SolarCity shows, carmakers want to get into the energy storage business. BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Nissan are all working on home batteries that integrate electric vehicles into residential power systems.
The vision is for homeowners to charge up batteries from solar panels during the day, and then charge up their cars at night while EVs are sitting in the garage. Or, as one French company sees it, the transfer could also go the other way: Car-owners could charge up their home batteries from their vehicles.
Yap Energie, part of a larger home energy group, has developed a vehicle battery that soaks up excess kinetic energy from a car’s brakes and alternator. It claims that, under optimum driving conditions, the system could provide 38% of a home’s energy needs (though this seems quite high).
“To make the house independent, we need to save everything we can,” says CEO Ylan Sabban. “When you drive a car, the alternator is producing energy for your principal battery. But when the car is 100% charged, you lose what is going to the battery. We keep this energy.”
The kit includes a contactless induction barrier, which is placed at the back of a garage. You park your car against the curb and the system takes in whatever you’ve managed to store while driving. Yap argues this energy is particularly useful because of the moment it’s transferred: When you arrive home and start turning on electric appliances.
Yap plans to release the product in November, starting with European markets. In time, it hopes to facilitate car-to-car electricity transfers as well, and to help people to sell power back to the grid when they park in shopping centers and other places. We’re moving to a much more flexible electric system, where power consumers are also power producers.
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