In a vehicle to grid experiment involving 100 electric car and truck owners in Europe and Enel, one of Europe’s largest utility companies, the owner of the electric Nissans earned an average of $1,530 a year from the program. — more than the cost of charging the vehicles for a year’s worth of use. The test also uncovered something equally surprising — vehicle to grid schemes may actually slow the rate at which lithium ion batteries degrade in normal use. Cash back and lower degradation? That’s music to any electric car owner’s ears.
Let’s not get out ahead of the story, however. The vast majority of electric cars are not equipped to participate in vehicle to grid or V2G usage. They are made to take electricity in to charge the battery, not send it back to the grid. Making a car compatible for V2G use may cost more, cancelling out some of the possible savings.
At the end of a one year trial period, researchers studied the data and concluded that if V2G is controlled by a “smart grid algorithm that is designed to minimize battery degradation, an [electric car] connected to this smart grid system can accommodate the demand of the power network with an increased share of clean renewable energy, but more profoundly that the smart grid is able to extend the life of the EV battery beyond the case in which there is no V2G.”
Bloomberg New Energy Finance projects that the electricity consumption from EVs will rise from 6 terawatt-hours today to 1,800 terawatt-hours in 2040, or more than 40 percent of current U.S. electricity demand. Having all those cars connected during the majority of the day would permit grid operators to balance the electrical loads in the system, saving utility companies lots of money — money they would be willing to share with the owners of the cars making all this possible.
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