How electric cars can save the US power grid

How electric cars can save the US power grid

Last month, California finalized a rule that would ban the sale of new gas-powered cars, starting in 2035. That would obviously speed up adoption electric car Encouraging other countries to do the same. (Oregon already has Follow the example of California.) But less conspicuously, disdain for carbon-emitting vehicles could help prop up the old, faltering electric grids in the United States.

Cars are no longer just means of transportation. They are increasingly being integrated into a larger energy infrastructure. If your electric vehicle in your garage is fully charged (cars are usually parked 95 percent of the time) and lose power, that big battery provides a chance to keep the lights on. And when there is a sudden rise in the demand for the network – because everyone wants to turn on the air conditioners during a period heat wave or its temperature during a strong freeze—Homeowners can pay for it Excess battery power.

This is known as bidirectional or vehicle to network Shipping (also known as V2G), is “a legitimate game-changer,” says Clifford Richchafen, a California Public Utilities Commission commissioner. “If all electric vehicles are plugged into the state during these peak load times and put power back into the grid, they act as giant batteries. We can use them to significantly relieve stress on the grid during periods of great need.”

It’s still early days for V2G. More than 100 V2G pilots are deployed worldwide, although most of them are scattered in Europe. The California trials were limited to small test programs. However, more auto and charger makers are offering two-way charging, and experts believe the concept could work at scale. About 200 million electric cars could be on global roads by 2030, according to A last estimate. California alone could have 14 million by 2035, Natural Resources Defense Council Estimates. If only local utilities could tap all those batteries, they would be able to power every home in the state for three days.

When someone connects a car to charge it, alternating current (AC) power is converted into direct current voltage, which is stored inside the car’s battery. If the owner has a two-way charger, DC power can be converted to alternating current and added to the network.

Two-way chargers are not common today and they can They are expensive, and often require additional specialized hardware. After the automakers and Other companies They are starting to roll it out to help electric vehicle owners contribute to the grid or store energy and then convert it for their own purposes. Ford’s new F-150 electric truck can run a home for up to three days—a serious advantage Climate change dystopia to come. Volkswagen has promoted bi-directional charging capabilities for its latest and upcoming electric vehicles. only this month, Nissan approved The first two-way charger for the all-electric Leaf, a vehicle that has been sold in the United States for nearly 12 years.

But utilities are likely to play the biggest role in ushering in a new era of power grids, he says Max BaumhfnerSenior attorney, Natural Resources Defense Council. One easy way they can encourage electric vehicle drivers to help the grid is by offering “time-of-use” rates, which makes it cheaper for owners to charge at times when the grid is less taxing — for example, when most people are sleeping at night. After witnessing 10 years of success with these rate programs, Baumhefner concluded, “If we give people a small push, they will respond.” This kind of strategy can Actually reduce costs to all network users by helping utilities use the infrastructure they have already paid for more efficiently, and avoid making upgrades.

The trick will be standardization, says Katie Sloan, vice president of programs and customer services at the Southern California Edison Facility. As more people start sending battery power back into the grid, it will be beneficial for electric vehicles and various charging systems to be technically integrated. “It’s really similar to what we’ve seen in the solar industry,” says Sloan. “This was the first time we’ve moved from one-way energy flow to homes that actually have two-way energy flow.” Likewise, automakers, shipping companies, and utilities need to work together to take advantage of electric vehicle batteries that are in garages.

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