Northern California’s primary supplier of electricity, Pacific Gas & Electric, is partnering with General Motors and Ford to see if there are benefits for consumers and the utility company with vehicle-to-home and vehicle-to-grid systems.
The goal of the tests is to learn if consumers can turn their electric vehicle batteries into a virtual power plant that provides electricity to the home during a power failure. Providing the homeowner is cautious in which items receive power, it seems like an EV battery can keep the lights on for several days. But what does it mean for homeowners who drive an electric vehicle?
What is a Vehicle-to-Home System?
Most homeowners aren’t going to use the battery in their electric vehicle to power their entire house. There is a significant catch in using a vehicle-to-home system. While you can keep the lights on during a power failure, you also have to safely disconnect the breaker panel from the electrical grid.
Disconnecting your breaker box isn’t as simple as it sounds. You will need to hire an experienced electrician, and it comes at a price.
What is a Vehicle-to-Grid System?
Energy companies are not encouraging consumers to sell their electricity back to the providers, but this attitude may be changing. The battery in your electric vehicle stores electricity that you can sell back to your energy provider, in theory. Regulations for the practice vary by state, but it is worth pursuing.
Turn Your EV into a Virtual Power Plant
The state of Vermont and the country of Australia are running trials to see if the energy stored in EV batteries can be given back to the power grid.
A virtual power plant (VPP) does need a smart grid, and it’s not something that is widely employed. The smart grid would manage the EV batteries in real-time, using one system. It is a big demand to ask energy companies to stop using two systems, one for grid-scale and the other for battery charging, but it is possible with the right algorithms and AI.
What is a Vehicle-to-Load System?
A vehicle-to-load system is another way you can use the energy stored in your EV battery. It’s also the simplest method. You can take advantage of the 110 and 220-volt outlets on your vehicle. You can use the outlets to power items like lights, electric tools, and your camping gear.
Upcoming Clinical Trials
Southern California’s electric company is beginning trials this year to see how drivers can take advantage of the extra power stored in their vehicles’ batteries. The testing will also note if drivers plugging their cars in places a strain on the current power grid.
Using computers, the trials will help determine how to ensure everyone has the power they need to keep their EVs charged and on the road.
Is Battery Degradation a Potential Issue?
Ford and GM are indicating a willingness to support V2L, V2H, and V2G capability. It’s also something consumers are interested in. The idea of powering their home during a blackout without a noisy generator is appealing, but what about battery degradation? It’s something that is being considered in the upcoming trials.
Is Tesla Onboard?
Tesla is showing little interest in investing in systems that can help consumers use the stored power in their EV batteries. Currently, their vehicles do not offer convenient ports to plug in power tools or even a lamp.
As consumer interest continues to grow, the electric car manufacturer may rethink its approach to its charging strategy. In the meantime, all eyes are on the current tests being conducted in Southern California.
EV Charging with Apogee Charging Solutions
Like with any new technology there are going to be new solutions and uses as time progresses. Our experts at Apogee Charging Solutions are here to answer any and all EV charging questions our clients might have.