Electric vehicles camped in parking spaces will be an ideal vehicle-to-grid energy source for buildings equipped with energy management systems. A new report from Navigant Research forecasts that nearly 200,000 plug-in electric vehicles equipped with vehicle-to-building (V2B) technology will be sold from 2012 through 2020.

The idea behind V2B (also known as vehicle-to-grid, or V2G) is that vehicle batteries can serve as places to store energy when needed by the utility. By combining load leveling, peak shaving and time-of-use pricing, vehicle and building owners can work together to potentially offset the higher costs of EVs. These costs would also be reduced because stored EV power could lower building energy costs while providing reliable emergency backup power. V2B is being tested in several pilot projects around the world and is just one element of larger test projects for microgrid and smart grid technologies. Other functions being researched in these test programs include renewable energy generation, smart buildings, smart EV charging and stationary backup storage.

On upshot from the Navigant Research study is that, " annual investments in upgrades to vehicles and to buildings, which include power electronics, inverters, and power management software, will grow to more than $76 million worldwide by 2020."


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  • 29 Comments
      Rotation
      • 2 Years Ago
      My pack is far too expensive to wear it out on stuff like this. Get real. If you are going to store energy, there are much more sensible and cost-effective ways to do it. Note that customers are not allowed to arbitrage TOU pricing using storage in any place in the US that I know of with retail rates. If you want to do it, you are not going to get the sweetheart deals that make solar generation (sell back at retail prices) so cost-effective. Also note that the number of customers who get to even sell solar and wind power back at full retail rates is capped at 5% of capacity in any given area in PG&E and I think in other areas too. This figure will start to be hit and be an impediment to putting in any new local generation or storage in 2-3 years by my calculations. As another note, this would probably mean a near instant end to all free EV charging. People loading up on power just to sell it would occupy every free charger 24/7.
        fairfireman21
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Rotation
        Realy Solar? 90% of the time wind is an issue as to why the power was out in the first place. Wind power is cheaper, easier, and better than any solar.
          VL00
          • 2 Years Ago
          @fairfireman21
          On a small scale ( a house ), solar is better.
          Rotation
          • 2 Years Ago
          @fairfireman21
          Solar works every day the sun comes up. They don't break. And they work in California's small lots where the house covers most of the lot. And it's far, far easier than wind. Also, solar is shining brightest when the peak rates hit, making those sweetheart rates I mentioned work for you.
          Spec
          • 2 Years Ago
          @fairfireman21
          You are both right. Wind is cheaper but it only really works on a large scale with massive wind turbines. Residentially, it has hard to beat PV solar. No moving parts, no maintenance, no noise . . . just clean power generated any time the sun is up. (And it works on cloudy days too.) Residential wind systems are generally not worth it unless you are off the grid and want something to supplement solar.
          MTN RANGER
          • 2 Years Ago
          @fairfireman21
          Anyone who has priced out residential solar vs wind will find the solar solutions are much much cheaper. If I wasn't trying to sell my house, I would plan on a nice 5-7kW system.
      Rotation
      • 2 Years Ago
      If it's worth it to the power company, let them put in a bank of Edison or sulfur batteries. Heck, even lead-acid. Or put in a flywheel storage system! It's not cost-effective to wear out an expensive Li-Ion to do this.
      • 2 Years Ago
      ".:.camped at night" , in this study how many EV owners do they envision are going to stay plugged in to a commercial charging point all night. Having a fast charger at home is expensive. EV owners will more likely slow charge at night, not causing any grid problems. V2G is just going to increase costs of EVs and decrease battery lifetime. Plug-in manufacturers will need to develop a common method for estimating the state of charge of a battery. If it is too low it cannot be used for V2G and if it falsely reads too high it will be used when it is empty. There are no standards for estimating SOC. The most practical Smart Grid control is to suspend charging. But then users would pay a premium to fast charge at a station that does not suspend charging. As already mentioned there will be extra wear on the battery, pushing up battery leasing costs. The grid can handle half a dozen EV fast charging stations every 50km on major roadways. The rest of the time slow charging at night and should be encouraged. The uptake of EVs is slow, by the time the Grid starts to face problems there will be enough old batteries around that can be used for H2G, home to grid.
        Jim_NJ
        • 2 Years Ago
        A lot of comments worrying about draining the battery when you need it, e.g.: @Stan Gation: "Plug-in manufacturers will need to develop a common method for estimating the state of charge of a battery. If it is too low it cannot be used for V2G and if it falsely reads too high it will be used when it is empty. There are no standards for estimating SOC." and @fairfireman21: "If I ever bought one of these V2G cars I would unplug it right off the bat. Who knows how drained your battery will be when you need to leave." This has already been addressed by the manufacturers. The Chevy Spark, for example, has a minimum distance setting. For example, if you have reduced overnight electricity rates starting at 10:00 PM, you can set the Spark to start charging at 10:00 PM (most EVs have this type of software). But you can also set a 'minimum mileage' when you plug in, e.g. 30 mile range to cover emergencies and whatnot. If you arrive home at 6:00 PM with 20 miles of range, the Spark will immediately start chargimmg the battery up to your 30 mile pre-set EVEN IF YOU SET IT UP FOR 10:00 PM Charging. At 30 miles, the Spark would stop charging and then wait until 10:00 PM to fully charge the car. But if you arrive home with 40 miles of range, theoretically the Spark could give back 10 miles (or about 3 Kwh) back to the grid. A car with the range of a Model S (200+), could easily be set to reserve a 100 mile minimum, and if you arrived home with 150 miles of range, that means it could send 50 miles, or about 13 Kwh back into the grid. Battery wear is another story.
      Brent Gardner
      • 2 Years Ago
      Did my architecture thesis project on this idea: http://www.norwich.edu/about/news/2012/060112-electricParking.html very doable but I do agree with others on here that the range of EVs would need to be a bit better than current average EVs. Fortunately for the vehicle grid cars we do have the technology and means to do such a thing now. Imagine being able to park on the street, plug in, and actually get paid to have your car give energy for a little while its parked doing nothing and it could recharge it before you come back. another article about that project: http://bmarkgardner.blogspot.com/2012/11/integrating-electric-vehicles.html
      Spec
      • 2 Years Ago
      Well, if there is good monitoring equipment and utility pays you, a V2G system could be worth it. Sometimes the grid needs just a little here & there for frequency regulation. If they are willing to pay for occasional usage, it may be worth it. A car payment where you get paid instead of you paying.
      Sasparilla Fizz
      • 2 Years Ago
      The battery tech isn't there yet for this IMHO. Plugin Li batteries loose capacity over time often depending on how much they are cycled (charged and discharged), go look at the My Nissan Leaf forum and you'll see numerous examples of 15% or more capacity (i..e range) loss in 2 years on Nissan Leaf's not in AZ or TX (where the battery gets baked and can really loose capacity). At some point the manufacturers will get us some Li chemistries that won't loose capacity nearly as fast as the ones in plug-in cars you can buy today (we're using battery chemistry from last decade), but we're not there yet. Until that happens these "we'll just cycle your car battery for energy storage - alot" schemes are just ivory tower musings that isn't practical with todays plug-ins because people wouldn't want to accelerate the capacity loss (value loss of their expensive car) they experience with their batteries already.
        Spec
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Sasparilla Fizz
        But it really depends on the amount it is done and how much they are willing to pay. It won't work as any kind of long-term storage mechanism where they are trying to fill in substantial valleys of demand. But for some things like frequency regulation, a relatively small amount of power drawn at a certain part of grid may be worth a lot to them. The alternative would be cranking up some massive generator far away just to deal with what might be a small transient dip that could be handled by local battery quickly. Thus, they may be willing to pay a substantial premium for a small amount of power if it is at the right place and right time.
        krona2k
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Sasparilla Fizz
        So how did they manage to lose 15% in two years in temperate climates? Fast 100% charging ever day and large numbers of miles? How many miles did they do?
      Ford Future
      • 2 Years Ago
      Probably more if Toyota's next Prius comes standard with a plug.
      fairfireman21
      • 2 Years Ago
      If I ever bought one of these V2G cars I would unplug it right off the bat. Who knows how drained your battery will be when you need to leave. Winter stormcomes in knocks out power and your car isdead the next morning you need to get food or gas for your generator, then what?
        Joeviocoe
        • 2 Years Ago
        @fairfireman21
        2 seconds of reasonable programming prevent this. The Chevy Spark already has a minimum charge setting. This is an example of fear overcoming creativity.
        2 wheeled menace
        • 2 Years Ago
        @fairfireman21
        Right.. It won't be realistic until we have 500-1000+ mile range batteries.
      VL00
      • 2 Years Ago
      I would never allow my car to be used like that, its just the power putting wear and tear on my battery.
        krona2k
        • 2 Years Ago
        @VL00
        If the incentive was large enough I might consider it but I would prefer to keep the battery cycles for myself. The LEAF battery is nowhere near as bad as some people make out but it's certainly no SCiB battery so unless the controls were really tight on what can and cannot be done with your battery, as Joeviocoe suggested, then I think it might be a tough sell.
        Joeviocoe
        • 2 Years Ago
        @VL00
        We don't know yet how much wear and tear a single battery will sustain when connected via V2G along with hundreds of others. Likely, your EV battery will be fluctuating only by a single KWH, about once a day. So maybe your EV will feel a few extra miles per day... 10% more I would imagine. It would be nice if a driver could control how many kwhs could be used by the V2G system.
      paulwesterberg
      • 2 Years Ago
      I think that these systems could replace/reduce the need for household emergency backup generators. If you could run essential household electrical devices off of your car for a couple of days in an emergency then you wouldn't need to buy, maintain, fuel an expensive gas generator.
        Rotation
        • 2 Years Ago
        @paulwesterberg
        There isn't enough energy in your car pack to run your household electrical devices off your car for a couple days. Not if, like every one wants, one of those is your fridge. Let alone your AC.
      Louis MacKenzie
      • 2 Years Ago
      I want more Grid-to-Vehicle, make incentives for gas stations nation wide to sell those super-chargers. Who doesn't want customers in their store snacking for 30 minutes instead of 5 minute fill-up-and-go? More electric cars means cheaper gas for me!
        Spec
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Louis MacKenzie
        "More electric cars means cheaper gas for me!" More electric car haters need this attitude.
        krona2k
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Louis MacKenzie
        Yeah keep promoting EVs even if it's for selfish reasons. Once you've had EV you'll never go back unless you have no choice, trust me on this.
      2 wheeled menace
      • 2 Years Ago
      Kilowatt hour communism.. it doesn't work either :)
        Chris M
        • 2 Years Ago
        @2 wheeled menace
        It's purely capitalistic - the drivers have a resource they can sell, if they want, at a price that is reasonable to both sides. They could also choose to keep all that battery capacity for themselves, but they'll forego the money they could have received.
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