Electric Cars, Energy Storage & the Smart Grid: How V2G Works

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vehicle to grid diagram

Buzzwords like ‘Vehicle to Grid’, ‘Smart Grid‘, and ‘V2G Energy Storage’ have been floating around a lot lately, but do you know exactly what they mean? Or more importantly, how electric cars work in relation to the rest of the energy grid? Keep reading to find out how the new smart grid will interact with your electric car or plug-in hybrid, your home, and other aspects of your life.

 

How your vehicle will interact with the smart grid

It may seem like a strange idea, but when your vehicle is plugged in at home, it will be acting as a rechargeable battery that’s plugged into your outlet. During off-peak times, when renewable energy sources like wind turbines are generating more power than is being used, your car can store excess energy that it can later flow back into your house for use during peak times.

Take a look at the smart grid infographic below for an example of how the flow of energy may look:

Vehicle to Grid Infographic

Of course, home and car owners will be able to control how much power is used from their vehicles, but a standard electric car battery should be able to store enough juice to power 10 homes! And by using stored power during peak energy times, homeowners will be saving themselves from big hydro bills as well.

 

Plug-in Hybrids and the Smart Grid

Electric cars won’t be having all of the fun with the introduction of the new smart grid, as it is expected that plug-in hybrids will be able to store energy and act as portable batteries just as EVs do. The only difference is, the battery from a plug-in hybrid won’t have the same energy storage capacity as a fully electric car, so the amount of power they will be able to provide to homes will be reduced as well.

 

How the smart grid will increase renewable energy

Once we have electric cars and plug-in hybrids acting as portable sources of stored energy, we can become far more dependent on renewable energy sources like solar and wind. Although right now many homes couldn’t rely on energy derived from a wind turbine because of its inconsistency, if the home used its electric car as a giant battery pack that only charged when the wind was blowing, the home could have enough energy stored to use power through the day and night, and still have enough to drive on.

Now that’s innovation!