In discussing solar electricity with battery storage last week as an alternative to being “on-grid,” I neglected to mention something called V2G—Vehicle to Grid. The idea is that after you have charged your electric car from your home, you could draw upon the vehicle’s stored energy during a power failure. Another reason to own an EV!
V2G is a version of battery-to-grid power applied to vehicles. There are three main different versions of the vehicle-to-grid concept, all of which involve an onboard battery:
- A hybrid or Fuel cell vehicle, which generates power from storable fuel, uses its generator to produce power for a utility at peak electricity usage times. Here the vehicles serve as a distributed generation system, producing power from conventional fossil fuels, biofuels or hydrogen.
- A battery-powered or plug-in hybrid vehicle which uses its excess rechargeable battery capacity to provide power to the electric grid in response to peak load demands. These vehicles can then be recharged during off-peak hours at cheaper rates while helping to absorb excess night time generation. Here the vehicles serve as a distributed battery storage system to buffer power.
- A solar vehicle which uses its excess charging capacity to provide power to the electric grid when the battery is fully charged. Here the vehicle effectively becomes a small renewable energy power station. Such systems have been in use since the 1990s and are routinely used in the case of large vehicles, especially solar-powered boats.