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Power Transportation

Returning Power From Electric Cars To the Grid 247

First time accepted submitter icensnow writes "NRG is patenting a means of returning electric power from charged but inactive electric cars to the grid, essentially turning parked electric cars into an energy storage system for the grid. I'm having a hard time deciding if this is genius or silly."
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Returning Power From Electric Cars To the Grid

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  • Silly. (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 27, 2011 @10:09AM (#37526052)

    OK, next question.


  • by Smidge204 ( 605297 ) on Tuesday September 27, 2011 @10:12AM (#37526082) Journal

    This idea is kicked around a lot, and there are some pros and cons.

    The intention is obvious: use stored energy in parked vehicles to help smooth spikes in demand and evenly distribute the load on the grid. But the difficulty is that people will want their cars to be charged when they leave work or the train station to head home, and peak demand is usually during those hours. Not only will a lot of cars be getting unplugged right when you need them, but few people will be willing to part with charge they might need to get home.

  • Both (Score:4, Insightful)

    by hackertourist ( 2202674 ) on Tuesday September 27, 2011 @10:13AM (#37526104)

    It's genius in that it allows load levelling without much investment by the power company, it's silly because the investment will just be moved to the user: Adding one charge cycle per day means that battery life is halved.

    The only way this will take off is for users to have a financial incentive to allow the power company to do this, ie the power price during peak demand must be so high that it's cheaper to deplete your EV battery rather than draw from the grid.

  • As a prius driver (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Gideon Wells ( 1412675 ) on Tuesday September 27, 2011 @10:18AM (#37526170)

    Silly as hell for now.

    I can't count how many times I parked my car with my battery being "full". I mean, if surplus energy were such a huge issue then why is Toyota releasing models now you can plug in for extra "fuel efficiency". For hybrids there can't be that much of a demand. I mean, this means I would need to use more gas to charge my car more to get my good fuel efficiency, partially defeating the purpose of the car.

    This seems even sillier for pure electric cars. You might as well argue that each home should have a pipeline to gas stations to siphon off their gas, in exchange for money, which you can buy back at the gas stations.

    That hybrid and electric car batteries may need tapped enough to use in this system is a more worrying scenario for me. What the bleep is wrong with the local grid that we are that pinched for energy? There are fluke events that make this impractical, or it happens enough which means to me there is something wrong with the regional system that needs fixed. Not my car drained of "fuel".

    Now, solar cars (maybe even cars with mini wind turbines?) I can see being part of this if you leave your vehicles outside. Once, if, your battery fills up you can sell surplus energy back as your car could be generating power during non-use unlike current electrics or hybrids.

  • Capital Costs (Score:4, Insightful)

    by alexander_686 ( 957440 ) on Tuesday September 27, 2011 @10:28AM (#37526310)

    So we have a expensive capital good laying around doing nothing most of the time – car batteries.

    We have a variable energy source (wind or solar, take your pick) which do not necessary correlate to peak energy usage. If one were to run solely off of these 2, energy companies would have to invest in a lot of batteries, unless

    Also, one could delay additional investments into the power grid by levering out the usage, where the energy Is coming from, etc. This assumes you don’t lose too much energy by taking electricity out of the battery again.

Nothing is finished until the paperwork is done.