More on Google's RechargeIT: Plug in hybrids and the smart grid

As we just mentioned, in a project called RechargeIT, Google's philanthropic foundation,, is turning science potential into science fact. Up to now it has been good theory that you can power an EV or PHEV (plug in hybrid) via a solar PV array connected to the grid and, yes, you can extract power from the PV array or the vehicle, if the grid needs it. By getting power from the battery storage pack on the hybrid, the utility can better manage the overall system, perhaps taking some old, inefficient power stations out of service, hence lowering greenhouse gases and saving some money.

Google, working with Pacific Gas and Electric has set up such a system with 6 hybrids (Priuses and Escapes), one of which can supply power back to the grid. Each of them has an extended battery pack from A123Systems of Watertown, MA. This gives the vehicles the extra storage so they can go "up to 75 miles on a gallon of gas."

The implication of this system is very promising. Not only does petroleum become the back-up power source during long trips or bad weather and the utility can off-load inefficient, expensive generation equipment, but using the vehicle's power pack gives homes the ability to operate even if there is a local grid power interruption. If the interruption is extended, the hybrid can even act as a genset after the batteries are drained. Solar PV array, hybrid vehicle w/extended batteries, two-way electric flow system, hmmm, this does sound very interesting. Non-renewable (petroleum and coal) consumption could drop significantly with little change in lifestyle. Almost perfect except it doesn't solve the traffic problem, does it?

[Source: Google]

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