A recurring question in the plug-in vehicle world goes something like this: When an electrical vehicle (EV) battery can no longer provide adequate power and range in its primary role of propulsion, then what? More specifically, what else are these partially spent batteries still capable of powering? We've heard a myriad of possible uses for them – everything from vending machines to mobile generators – but most of us are more interested in using these hunks of li-ion to somehow power our homes and that's why were thrilled to hear about this new study.

The California Center for Sustainable Energy (CCSE) will head a joint research study to see just how useful these batteries could be in home usage. The study is funded by the University of California to the tune of $992,000. The CCSE will have a lot of helpers, including San Diego Gas and Electric; AeroVironment Inc., Flux Power and the Transportation Sustainability Research Center at UC Berkeley.

The study is sure to take some time, but you can bet that we're eager to hear the results. As Mike Ferry, CCSE's transportation program manager, said:
Even after the end of usable battery life in the vehicle, the batteries will retain 70 to 80 percent of their residual capacity and be highly valued for stationary energy usage and other smart grid applications. A viable secondary market for advanced automotive batteries could cut initial battery costs by spreading those costs over their entire useful lifetime.
See why we're excited about this study? It's not so much the batteries powering our homes part that we're interested in, it's that mention of reducing the cost of electric vehicles that gets us going. Paying less for EVs? We'll support any study that searches for ways to make that a reality.

Photos by Sebastian Blanco / Copyright ©2010 Weblogs, Inc.
[Source: Green Car Congress]

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