California’s EVGrid, a startup founded by ex-AC Propulsion chief Tom Gage, is targeting the third quarter for an East Coast test of approximately 30 battery electric cars able to not only draw power from the electrical grid, but give it back in times of need.
With vehicle-to-grid technology – V2G – electric vehicles become assets to the grid, and not threats.
Gage is a longtime V2G advocate, working with research leaders like Willett Kempton of UDel, the University of Delaware. Their goal is “to synergize electric vehicles and the power grids through advanced communications and controls.”
V2G proponents want to go beyond the exchange of information between vehicles and the grid, and advance to the exchange of energy. EVs, in numbers, can act as fast, efficient, and responsive power and energy sources, giving utilities a cushion to balance supply and demand, Gage says. “This kind of grid support is required 24 hours a day and has considerable value. Vehicle owners could earn money while their cars are parked and plugged in.”
The battery has value for driving and for grid support, the drivers would pay only “for use of battery for driving,” EVGrid says. The most expensive part of an electric car – its battery – could thus be taken out of the vehicle purchase price.
The concept is fairly simple, but its application is proving to require deep coordination between technologies and organizations. “V2G value capture depends on systems,” states an EVGrid summary. “It has many tentacles,” Gage told F&F.
The trial taking shape for the fall will be conducted with UDel, Gage says, in PJM territory. Pennsylvania-based PJM is an RTO (regional transmission organization) that helps coordinate the movement of wholesale electricity in 13 states and the District of Columbia. UDel has been testing five AC Propulsion eBox EVs outfitted for V2G operation since 2009.
In 2011, UDel signed a V2G technology license agreement with NRG, a power generation and retail electricity business that operates some 50 power plants with a collective 25,000 megawatts of generation capacity.
For the impending trial, EVGrid is working with New Castle, Del.-based AutoPort for vehicle service and logistics support.
The initial 30 V2G vehicles would represent about 200 kilowatts of grid support, Gage says.
A second phase would take the test to about 100 EVs.
EVGrid, CEO Tom Gage, 408-616-0573; [email protected]
UDel, Prof. Willet Kempton, 302-831-0049; [email protected]
Source: Fleets & Fuels interview with EVGrid and related reporting