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Widespread adoption of plug-in cars always raises questions about the reliability of the electrical grid and an incident earlier this week in San Francisco does nothing to quell those concerns. A power outage in the area caused a major data center that hosted sites such as Technorati, Facebook and Six Apart to go down for several hours.

Tech writer Om Malik has a post on his blog about the sorry state of infrastructure investment in the United States. Apparently electric utilities have reduced capital expenditures by fifty percent over the past fifteen years, all in the name of increasing profits. I went through the big North-East blackout of 2003 and I have little confidence that utilities have done anything to address the root causes of that event. Some analysts think plug-in vehicles and particularly vehicle to grid technology will actually help stabilize the grid by providing a buffer to absorb and release excess power. We definitely need to do more research to find out.

[Source: GigaOm]


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 10 Comments
      • 8 Years Ago
      V2G sounds to pricey and complicated. It practically requires a whole new infrastructue!

      It is very clear from studies (and common sense) that the grid can support humongo amounts of EVs.
      The problem being stated in this article is what happens if/when the grid breaks down. Well, when the grid breaks down, the same thing happens at gas station, since gas stations use pumps. Yes, electrical infratructure needs to be improved because it is aging, and the chances of a major failure are increasing, but there is little question as to if the electrical grid can produce the power; the question is can the grid distribute it without fault.
      • 8 Years Ago
      K I will stop posting now.
      Scouts honor.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Ideally the surplus energy you create should be kept for a rainy day. The reason people do grid-tied solar is purely to save on the cost of batteries. Batteries are expensive and wear out too quickly.

      I don't see a lot of people volunteering to partially deplete their electric cars into the grid. Electric cars don't have enough range as it is. People will not be comfortable setting a lower threshold whereby "surplus" energy storage is siphoned off into the grid.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Looks like ABG is going out of its way to bring down the EV - GigaOm?
      Where's your feasibility study on Ethanol and Hydrogen?
      Companies are not putting much capital into the infrastructure because demand and price have not required them to. With EVs we will be paying 18$/KWH, we will have an improved infrastructure with lots of PVs and each driver will be cutting their fuel costs by more than half.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Forget vehicle to grid.

      Just develop an easier system than this to let me use my EV as a UPS for my house:

      http://priups.com/

      I think people who put PVs on their house with no battery backup are unwise.

      When the grid goes down, those solar cells on their roof are useless (no grid power = no PV power to the house loads)
      • 8 Years Ago
      Home battery buffer or home hydrogen fuelcell can greatly help the grid if they are power at off-peak and more if they are power by windmill or solar panels. Maybe the electric utility compagnies and the oil compagnies have a feeling of theses new technologies and they didn't invest their profits, they cash in instead while they can.
      There is too much subsidies and researchs and not enough action from the new energy compagnies. With a windmill and solar panels you can power a home and a car if you can store theirs energy output, only battery and hydrogen can store that i think.
      • 8 Years Ago
      I really live PHEV, but I think that V2G is a none starter as far as I'm concerned. Overall centralized generation has served us very well and I so no real case to be made for decentralized generation increasing reliability or decreasing costs.

      The average American pays 9 cents/KwH, are we really going to ever get much cheaper than that? I really question it. Power outages are big news events, in other words, they are rare. My internet connection is far less reliable than my electric. Why complicate our grid? it will only decrease reliability.

      I live the idea of people putting up solar panels, etc. But PUT CAPACITY WHERE IT IS NEEDED, It's better to put solar panels on a business than on a house that is net-metering.

      Overall centralized generation works well, PHEVs are a great extension to use overnight surplus capacity.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Several studies have been done on this subject. DOE's Pacific
      Northwest Laboratory concluded that 84% of all cars on the road today
      could be powered by electricity with the existing system. The key is
      that PHEVs or BEVs would draw power at night during off-peak periods,
      when electric companies have a large excess of power available.

      Study: http://newswire.ascribe.org/cgi-bin/behold.pl?ascribeid=20061211.105149&time=11%2005%20PST&year=2006&public=0

      Chris - www.evbuzz.com
      • 8 Years Ago
      • 8 Years Ago
      I've always wondered how profits can be record setting in the rail industry, yet it sucks. Probably the same reason the grid is sucking.