Electric Vehicles Could Be The Grid Storage Solution We’ve Been Dreaming Of

As nation states grapple with the spectre of environmental and economic losses due to climate change, we’ve seen an ever greater push towards renewable energy sources to replace heavier polluters like coal and natural gas. One key drawback of these sources has always been their intermittent availability, spurring interest in energy storage technologies that can operate at the grid level.

With the rise in distributed energy generation with options like home solar power, there’s been similar interest in the idea of distributed home battery storage. However, homeowners can be reluctant to make investments in expensive batteries that take years to pay themselves off in energy savings. But what if they had a giant battery already, just sitting outside in the driveway? Could electric vehicles become a useful source of grid power storage? As it turns out, Ford wants to make their electric trucks double as grid storage batteries for your home.

If You’ve Got A Big Battery, Why Not Use It?

The Ford F-150 Lightning, the company’s first electric pickup truck, has plenty of power sockets on board and can even keep a house running for three days from the power in its batteries.
Ford have already made waves with the generator on their F-150 Hybrid, capable of delivering up to 7.2kW in service. Many used the pickups to power their appliances during the recent Texas blackouts.

The technology is based around the Ford Charge Station Pro, an 80 amp bidirectional charger for their new electric pickup, the F-150 Lightning. The charger allows the pickup’s battery to power a user’s home in the event of a blackout, for up to three days of typical use. It requires professional installation, and is outfitted with proper isolation safeguards to avoid backcharging the grid which can be dangerous for line workers undertaking repairs. It builds on the great press Ford received earlier this year during the Great Texas Blackout, when owners of F-150 Hybrids were able to keep appliances running for days thanks to the vehicle’s onboard battery, generators and inverters.

Beyond Emergencies

Where it gets really interesting is when Ford roll out their Intelligent Power upgrade for the system. This will use the pickup’s battery to supply energy to the home during peak periods when power prices are highest — such as during the afternoon or early evening. Then, it will charge the car back up at night when prices are lower. It essentially uses the vehicle as a home battery, akin to products like the Tesla Powerwall or homebrew batteries we’ve seen before. The functionality will only be available on the Ford Charge Station Pro, which will have the smarts to manage power flows both into and out of the grid. Users of more basic home charging solutions won’t be able to use the technology.

Tesla’s Powerwall is one of the more popular home battery solutions thus far, but requires an expensive one-off investment for the hardware.

There’s no reason the system couldn’t monitor live power prices and compare with the car’s use schedules in order to charge at the cheapest possible time, while still maintaining the battery at a minimum charge level to avoid the user getting stuck without transport. Of course, to make the most of this capability, careful implementation will be key. It will only take a few horror stories of users waking up to a dead car battery, or dropping range over time, for public opinion to turn against the practice. Software must be optimised to always leave a driver with range in the battery when they need it, and to maximise the lifespan of the vehicle’s battery. Despite a decade of mainstream availability of electric cars, we haven’t heard too many horror stories of batteries dropping dead, but it remains a potent fear in the broader community.

The Smartest Electrical Gear in Your Home

The charger will require professional installation into a home’s electrical wiring. However, this is typical of most serious electric vehicle charging solutions. With drivers demanding more range per minute from their chargers, fast charger and 220V installations are becoming par for the course with electric vehicle purchases.

Storage will become increasingly important to healthy power grid operation over time as renewables start to make up a larger share of the overall power mix. Some jurisdictions have already faced issues as huge influxes of solar power on bright days make it difficult to keep traditional baseload generators online without overloading the grid. Having huge swathes of storage distributed across the grid could help with this. In the aforementioned scenario, electric cars attached to smart chargers would note the dropping power price as solar energy flooded in to the grid on a sunny day, and switch into charging mode to store the cheap energy. If the sun temporarily goes behind a cloud, rather than the grid voltage crashing, smart chargers could detect the dip and instantaneously respond by letting battery power flow back into the grid. It’s similar to the operation of large grid battery projects like the Hornsdale Power Reserve, only distributed across thousands of individual homes.

The benefit of using EVs for grid storage is that those who buy compatible electric vehicles don’t just get a car that’s cheaper to run and kinder to the environment. They can also play an active role in maintaining grid stability and making the most out of the renewable energy available on Earth every day. With thousands of EVs purchased every year, if properly equipped, they could become the grid storage revolution that the world has been looking for.

157 thoughts on “Electric Vehicles Could Be The Grid Storage Solution We’ve Been Dreaming Of

    1. Most Texans have an A/C rather than a heat pump (because it’s cheaper), and use electric heat for the rare occasions they need it. To heat a home resistively for the length of the recent storm would take more than a couple of F150s..

        1. You need electricity to run a natural gas furnace. These are hardwired to the mains so even if you have a portable generator it’s not straight-forward to run your furnace from it. Mains backup batteries get around this issue.

          1. Yeah at my dad’s house out in rural PA where they lose power a lot in storms, he hardwired the oil furnace to a cord plugged in to an outlet so he can run it and the blower off a generator when the power’s out.

          2. best to wire devices like that into a dedicated panel, transfer switch that then can be connected to generator, other power for emergencies, and much safer more reliable.

          3. Here in Oklahoma city my 100 year old house was without mains power for about 10 days. When the generator we barrowed went kaput at about day 5 I plugged the gas furnace into a auto inverter and finally found use for all those 12v batteries I harvested out of scooters, backup/emergency lights and old exit signs… Even strung some led Xmas lights around the house and was able to charge our phones.

        2. “Or heat with natural gas… ”

          Except non-engineering types all over the country are working hard to get natural gas banned in favor of electric stoves, oven and water heaters (somehow they never mention heating but…). Oddly the local utility say we should cut use of electricity between 4pm and 9pm because that’s peak use and forces use of more dirtier generation. Of course these are the hours MOST people are cooking dinner so if they have no gas what is being pushed is MORE use of dirty utility generation.

          Shows what happens when one focuses on only one aspect of the problem ignoring all others.

        3. Well, if your down to just heating a minimal space to keep alive then might as well sleep in the truck during an outage. Just don’t try it with a combustion engine without a CO alarm.

          Since your not heating the whole house though be sure to turn the water off and drain the pipes.

      1. Just fit a DC pump (about 7W) to the pipes under the sink farthest from the water heater to circulate from the hot to the cold so they won’t freeze (might need multiple to cover every branch, or use adapters to make loops at those other sinks), then put on a jacket to keep yourself warm.

        For the more everyday problem of moving A/C use to low demand or maximum renewable production times, making ice for thermal storage would be orders of magnitude cheaper than batteries and has no inherent limit on lifespan.

      2. One option with this system if the battery gets low, you can drive it to a super charger stay in and recharge it. Might not work for widespread outages, but many blackouts are local.

      1. After? The scalpers with sub par generators show up hours or days before an impending storm with the thought of getting rich off the gullible. It never fails. After the hurrican you’re lucky if you can get ice.

  1. Bill Maher took 1160 days to get his solar power approved In CALI. Just cant see overwhelming approval from the electrical suppliers on this much less multitudes of utility providers needing cooperation

    1. Grid operators could offset that anxiety with bill credits for people that connect their vehicles or offer tiered rates for vehicle charging (e.g. you pay $0.06/kWh for home usage and $0.04 for vehicle charging consumption). Grid operators would be basically buying insurance for surge conditions and homeowners would get cheaper electricity to keep their cars charged.

      Could be a win-win.

      1. I see it as introducing wear and tear on a component most, if not all vehicle manufacturers consider to be the defining factor of the lifetime of said vehicle.
        Namely the batteries.
        And hot take: the utility companies themselves should be owning and maintaining the “grid smoothers”, not essentially renting them for a pittance from end-users.

        1. This.
          EV batteries are designed to fit a certain purpose, and that’s mobility. Now you can use a lot bulkier but by other measure superior batteries as distributed storage – and it would be cheaper on per unit (kWh/Ah) level, as you don’t need to incorporate compromises because of weight, mobility, crash resistence into it.

          1. You are 100% correct. But this doesn’t have to be an either/or situation. After stalling for far too long, we are in desperate need of more carbon-free energy, and to facilitate that transition, we need more storage *yesterday.* EVs are just overwhelmingly compatible with this need, so why not take the small step to allow them to contribute to the solution.

            Even if the grid doesn’t actually ever *draw* from our EVs, they can be part of the load-balancing solution … simply by charging during the day (at work), instead of at night (at home). If utilities would subsidize charging ports in parking garages, then when the sun is shining and the wind is blowing, excess generation can be dumped into our cars.

        2. EV batteries are more robust than you seem to think. The battery in my 2-year old EV is expected to last around 500,000 miles (and yes, there are high-use EVs out there approaching this mileage). In a few years, the standard will be 1,000,000. That is far in excess of the life of a typical car.

          So we have a growing fleet of long-lived, high-capacity batteries spending 95% of their lives parked in garages. And we have a growing need for long-lived, high-capacity storage for our growing renewable energy generation sector. This is a complete no-brainer.

          Will there be potential downsides, risks? Of course. But we live in an economic system *explicitly intended* to reward people who assume risk. Most EV owners would happily accept that trade.

          1. The million mile battery is a bit of smoke and mirrors – marketing hype.

            The thing is, your battery might last 3,500 full cycles the day it comes out of the factory, but it also has a shelf life which does the same damage over time.

            The Tesla paper on the NMC cells for example just assumes these things to be independent and uses linear extrapolation to claim 17-year shelf life. Well, in reality that also depends on the average state of charge, time spent at high temperature, AND how many charge cycles you’ve put through the battery already.

            To make an illustration of the problem, let’s suppose the battery could sustain a million miles on year 1 on a completely fresh battery, and zero miles on year 17 because it’s past its use by date. When you plot the miles in a graph on the Y axis, and the years on X axis, you can draw a straight line between the two points (0,1000000) and (17,0). Now, start plotting up the miles you drive in a year. Let’s say 30k miles per year, and put that in the graph as well. Where do the lines intersect?

            Answer: about 338 000 miles and 11.3 years. So much for the million mile battery – not to mention that these miles are about 25% hype and “up to” marketing in the first place. At least it’s not 50% lies anymore like in the early 2010s.

            Now, let’s add another 30k miles per year to represent the additional energy demand of using the battery for grid storage. The cumulative miles reach 505 000, but you actually drive half of that, and the battery would be out of commission at 8.4 years of age – two years sooner.

          2. This also brings another point:

            A car battery needs a long calendar life to achieve high mileage, because people do not drive hundreds of miles every day.

            A grid battery needs to maximize the number of cycles used to have the lowest possible unit cost of energy.

            These two goals are in complete contradiction. Grid storage would benefit more from grinding the battery down as fast as possible, and EVs would benefit from babying the battery to have the longest possible shelf life, to have the maximum return of interest for the money.

          3. Dude: very well thought out and presented. You can say “million mile battery” and “17 year shelf life”, and that sounds really impressive. It’s considerably less impressive, although still pretty damn good when you think about it, that it will need to be replaced at 11 years and 335,000 miles. And that DOES affect how willing you will be to let your power company use it for free, just to cut down on their own costs for peak load power.

          4. Yep, in the same way how Elon Musk said “300 mile range” and “$50,000 price tag” when he originally rallied for funding for the Model S.

            He was actually talking of two different cars, one of which never got sold because he refused to build them.

    2. Everyone who get’s paid for it while still not disscharging below an individual “minimum” range value and a possibility to hit a button that ensures full load in the morning in case it’s the night before your longer-then-usual-holiday-trip

    3. No to mention cycles kill batteries… The battery is one of the most expensive parts of an EV… The compensation would have to be significant for me to consider doing this.

      1. Partial cycles don’t kill a battery badly, the real killer is getting over discharged, over charged or over temperature in the charge/discharge.

        That said the type of batteries in an EV are all about power density, not really the best choice for a home battery. Still with a well designed EV battery (not a first gen Leaf for instance) I know I would love an EV acting as an extra home battery, won’t harm the battery all that much for a pretty major gain, that is likely to get much greater as carbon taxes and other ‘green’ motivational tools on power use start being applied.

        Here in the UK my little solar setup probably averages just slightly more than the ‘idle’ power draw on the bad days, so on those days its not unusual for the battery to not be filled on solar at all (though the system has smarts and send and receive from the grid and co-operatively to other users of the same energy company automatically, which is part of why the battery was very very cheap – take that out it might just fill the little battery every day), but on a half decent day its producing way way more excess than the battery capacity. So having probably twenty times (or more) of that capacity sitting on the driveway wouldn’t go amiss as long as you can toggle a switch to say fully charge the EV when you know you are going on a long trip (and would mean the battery power for the house could last the entire night easily, while taking a pathetic amount of the range).

          1. And as a grid levelling/house battery its getting less energy through it it on average by miles than driving a mile, average US household with its AC is what 1Kw draw 2?, and the battery isn’t expected to supply all of that anyway in this role. Where just getting the multi ton behemoth up to to 30mph just once would blow your home fuses…

            The point being that days of tiny ‘cycles’ of charge discharge don’t add up to much energy through the battery vs actually using the thing for one trip.

            So even if we take that as gospel (which it isn’t, not really wrong either, just a bit simplified as how you put the energy through, existing charge state, type of battery, environmental conditions at the time and probably half a dozen things I’ve failed to recall also matter) its a very different type of load and maybe in total energy through the battery will take a few months perhaps a year of life out of it (assuming you ever actually drive your ‘mobile’ UPS), which for something you expect to last 10+ years isn’t a particularly large amount. Would be nice if EV’s were designed to be easier to repair and replace, but with how long the battery pack should last I can see why they are not, one serious rebuild every 15 odd years isn’t all that bad…

          2. “So even if we take that as gospel (which it isn’t, not really wrong either”

            The more energy you put through the battery, the more it wears out.

            Physics is even more strongly-held than a gospel. It’s entirely correct, so saying it “isn’t really wrong,” that is incorrect. You’re saying it is partially wrong. But it isn’t. Work is wear. There is no equivocation available.

            It is surely true that small amounts of work are small, but that is not a guaranteed basic premise, nor is it under the control of the vehicle owner. Perhaps it is a large amount of work?

            The way the utilities are currently wired, more power would be drawn from those vehicles nearest to the distribution, so it isn’t even balanced between vehicles.

          3. @RubyPanther With many of these connected to the grid home battery systems it is in the hands of the homeowner (or at least whatever computer is automating it for them) how much and when electricity is traded. Certainly not universally the case, but it can be that way.

            Also it is partly wrong, no two ways about it, as the conditions playing house battery vs the conditions while driving are so completely different, and how much the batteries wear really does change meaningfully depending on how they are used – with expected use while driving being much more fatiguing.

            Its possible to put bugger all energy through a battery and pretty much kill it, even in just one or two deep discharge cycles, or put several thousand times that energy through that same battery and have it still working pretty well if you treat it carefully enough.. Very hard to really quantify as there are so many variables, big ones being some EV take care of their batteries better than others and just how aggressive the feed to the grid will be…

          4. In terms of favorable conditions, li-ion batteries last longer at a lower average SoC. The owner can choose to limit the maximum charge according to their daily needs get more out of the vehicle. However, if you add the V2G scheme on top of that, it implies charging the car up to the daily requirement PLUS the V2G requirements, which increases the wear on the battery both by pushing more energy through it, AND increasing the average SoC.

            While you can argue there is little damage IF the battery is treated nicely, it is also true that the V2G adds unnecessary wear on the battery because balancing both needs and both tasks makes the use of the battery less optimal.

      2. Charge cycles on batteries are becoming a non-issue. Tesla is aiming to make their latest batteries outlive the other critical components. This is what the “million mile” battery initiative is about. If they can make a battery that has a serviceable life of over 1 million miles and the car itself lasts ~300k, then there’s plenty of room there for other uses.

        1. It’s not quite that simple. The NMC cells that Tesla advertises as the “million mile battery” have an endurace of about 3,500 cycles on day one, or a shelf-life of about 15-17 years (traditional li-ion cells about 8-12 years). How long the battery lasts and how many miles you’ll get out of it is a compromise between the two, and not likely a linear one – the older the battery gets, the more damage is done by each charge cycle because the damage already done causes accelerated wear.

          300k miles would imply about 1000 charge cycles, and by linear extrapolation would reduce the shelf life of the battery by about 30%, which brings us back to the 10-12 years range, which is just middle age for the cars on the road.

          If you add significantly to the daily cycling load on the battery, you’ll take years off of the life of the car. 10% more energy through the battery, one year sooner to the scrap heap.

          1. Meanwhile, the average household energy consumption in the US is a little over 11,000 kWh per year, or 30 kWh a day.

            In contrast, 10 kWh is worth about 30 miles. You can easily double your “mileage” on the battery using it for a V2G scheme involving time-of-use shifting.

        2. may be trying but those big battery packs are just a lot of still same battery tech in small cells all connected together, only thing doing now to increase life span is smarter charging technology but batter tech still not that great yet. Regardless of what they claim 7-10 years batt efficiency will be too low have to replace.

    4. Range isn’t a huge issue for many people, many EV’s max ranges are getting so large that most people can do days even perhaps weeks of driving on the one charge – its all down to your needs, which depends on where you live as much as how you live.

      For some loosing any range really would be a bad idea, as they are then having to spending time at a charger every day to do their round trip commutes (or having to spend longer, going beyond the range anyway). For others (like I expect almost all retired people, and major metropolis dwellers) you could half the battery charge and still have more range than they need for the normal day to day needs.

  2. It costs $55k for a mid-range model with a better battery and tops out at around $90K. It weighs over 3 tons empty and only has a 5 1/2 foot bed. If I have to store and drive with a trailer all the time it’s pointless, even if I could afford it. I’m sure the charger costs plenty on top of that. A very expensive toy right now.

      1. How else would you describe it?

        A pickup truck that can’t carry stuff because it’s already heavy, doesn’t have the energy to pull a trailer, and costs as much as two or three real cars.

        1. For me I’d say its very useful still, as it will meet my needs, vastly cheaper in operation than ICE, and probably only going to get better on the cost to run as all the green economy tax/incentives filter in. Just because its not a drop in replacement for the model it looks very similar too doesn’t make it a toy.

          I couldn’t afford one at that price, and pickups don’t make much sense in Europe, and even less so in the often inclement UK weather… But still for some folks its defiantly a winner despite the trade-offs to the ICE variations if they have the cash up front.

          1. > vastly cheaper in operation than ICE

            Not really. It performs like a vehicle that is 1/3rd the price and the difference buys you a lifetime of gasoline and then some.

          2. Any EV here even the shoddiest ones are going to be vastly cheaper to run, as petrol isn’t cheap, even compared to peak rate electric. And its almost certainly only going to get worse in comparison. As it stands I’d estimate that sort of truck is going to cost 40 times in petrol what the EV ones costs per mile here, could well be more as big American vehicles are known for the fuel economy…

            On performance, haven’t tested one, but I’d be willing to bet the EV will feel more performant than the petrol of the same thing… EV’s generally have stupendous torque and better power delivery in comparison…

            Can you find second hand or cheap import for 1/3rd the price that outperforms a new pickup, absolutely, if your idea of performance is only one or two metrics, like top speed, or max load, nothing 1/3rd of the price will truly outperform it on all fronts. Even if the only thing it wins on is comfort being a big fat American vehicle…

            I agree that 1/3rd the price when those pickups are so expensive certainly will buy you a fair amount of fuel – with my near zero mileage certainly more than I’d use even accounting for ever increasing fuel prices, which is why I don’t have an EV – though as an additional house battery it might be worth it on the electric bill savings.

            But apples to apples comparisons a new similar pickup, with all the features, design criteria and similar size there is no way the large ICE required will be cheaper to run or the vehicle much cheaper to buy. And it has to be a large ICE to produce sufficient power for the, large, comfortable, go anywhere, pull anything type vehicle this is trying to be. Do I think its rather expensive for what it is, absolutely, but so are all the other pickups of that type – Its not the basic Hilux or Landrover style workhorse, built solid and cheap, but with little regard for comfort, none of the extra ‘toys’, or ‘style’ (yes I quite like the basic workhorse no nonsense styling myself, that one isn’t a winning point for me) so you can’t expect it to be as cheap as one…

        2. Ability to carry 2,000lbs payload means it “can’t carry stuff”? It’s the essentially the same payload as the ICE EcoBoost V6 version (which ranges from ~1700lbs to 2500lbs, depending on how it’s spec’d). Tow rating is also similar, so to say it “doesn’t have the energy to pull a trailer” is also odd. Ya, range is reduced (not sure how much) but it will pull a trailer.

          Not sure what “two or three real cars” you’re comparing to price-wise. The base ICE F-150 starts at ~$38,000 while the Lightning starts at ~$40,000.

          1. Notice that the F-150 is already a toy, and the EV version is even more of a toy because it adds the energy limits to towing stuff, and the price as well.

          2. Depends on the trailer– most who actually care about towing capacity are not pulling a small 250-500lb utility trailer from Home Depot. Most SUV or even a sedan can pull these. The towing capacity on the standard model is only 7,700lb which is likely fine for about every single axle, big box store trailer like these.

            If you have a two axle trailer, most weigh 1500lb+ and have 10k+ lb weight capacity. That 7700lb quickly drops to 6500lb when you factor in the weight of the trailer. So now you are only able to load it to half capacity or less. That is about 2 cu yards of topsoil/mulch or enough gravel to cover just 500 sq ft.

        3. This. I’m in PartsUnknown KY and I daresay that 90% of the pickups have never carried anything bigger than some grocery bags. They’re much too new and shiny to be used for plebian purposes.

          So why do so many here drive big pickups? Probably status symbol. The bigger the pickup and/or its tires, the more that one is bragging “Look at me!”.

  3. This is not a new idea – the hippies were talking about this in the 70’s, they just didn’t have the battery technology to make it feasible. As such I just assumed that this capability was already baked into all electric vehicles and ready to release when the infrastructure was ready. I’ll be disappointed to find otherwise.

    1. Be an optimistic skeptic. Hope for the best, expect the worst, you’ve already started the hoping for the best, and you’re on your way with expecting the worst with being “disappointed to find out otherwise” and just expect that something that adds costs for no immediate gain being left by the wayside.

      It would be nice, but business doesn’t add value that it has no expectation of return on the investment. Ford is doing this because the hybrids they had turned out to be useful as unintentional power sources during a grid failure. I say unintentional because the power taps were added as a feature for work trucks to allow tools to be used off grid. They are just building on the good publicity from the hybrids with their fully electric truck.

      1. “It is better to be a pessimist, than an optimist.
        Then if something works as it is supposed to, you’re pleasantly surprised.
        If it doesn’t work, you were right!”

        (a supervisor told me that)

  4. A few companies already do this…

    I work for a company using second life battery packs to supplement the grid:

    We take the battery packs out of used EVs, connect them into large battery banks and supplement solar and grid instabilities.

    It’s much easier for the power company to deal with a single power source than a distributed power source…

    When the power company needs a few MW of power, it can be delivered without having to worry about negotiating with different vehicle vendors to see which of the distributed vehicles can provide the power, while randomly getting unplugged when the power is needed.

    1. I think the interesting use case here is not coordinating with grid management to supply power during peak demand, but for the homeowner to reduce their own usage. The car can feed into the grid at the current home demand level during peak TOU hours to zero-out the meter, then charge off-peak. It could also charge before the scheduled start time if a rooftop solar installation is causing a net surplus. This would help the homeowner pay only off-peak pricing, but it would also reduce overall grid demand, and help flatten the “duck curve”.
      Neat stuff your company does BTW! I like that application too.

  5. I don’t know why anyone who’s had time of use metering foisted on them wouldn’t immediately buy a powerwall just to use it for arbitrage. I don’t have ToU where I live, but I did the math and the pay-back period is only a few years, after which… profit.

    1. A powewall can bring nice profits. Couple it with solar panels, solar charge during the day, sell energy during night peak, charge from the grid late night, sell energy on morning ramp up.

      Or even another storage. I saw a video on Vanadium Redox Flow Batteries the other day and it’s interesting. It lasts for way more cycles, it’s easier to increase capacity (just dump more electrolyte on the tanks), it does not catch fire, can be deep discharged, can be left charged or discharged for years… but Vanadium is pretty expensive to start.

    2. Running the numbers here, I’m not sure it pays for itself in a few years. I’m in the UK so this may vary but a powerwall costs about £9500 to install and at the moment my variable tariff swings between 11p/kwh and 35p. If I store cheap and consume expensive it’ll take 40mwh to earn back the battery cost, or about 10 years of an average home’s consumption. If your power is free from a solar panel or something it’s 7.5 years. Store and return to grid takes longer, 11p in 15p out doesn’t make much profit. Lifetime doesn’t make sense either, 40mwh is about 3000 charge cycles on a powerwall so a good chunk of its lifespan.

      There are cheaper batteries out there, China is producing huge lithium iron phosphate cells so powerwall money buys 50kwh in a technology that should last longer, maybe that’s the way to go? Or maybe having huge peak power consumption (charging a car between 4 and 7pm) would make it worthwhile.

      1. I think in the UK these sort of things make sense mostly if you are a larger electric user yourself (particularly at peak times) – it is more about cutting your own bills than trading energy – unless you also got in on solar early and are still getting the better prices for exported energy (I think those have all stopped but damned if I know for sure), in which case its going to be a clear winner trading with the grid for energy drawn from it.

        I’ve not checked recently how much cheaper the solar system and tiny battery installed here has made the bill, but last time I looked it was looking like payback in less than 5 years was likely.

        Longer lived batteries or CAES, Pumped Hydro, lifted weights, basically anything with a lifespan such that you can expect it to still work (perhaps with minor maintenance) for the rest of your life or even kids/grandkids it becomes a nobrainer if you are willing to invest for that long term, as even though these systems are usually cheaper to build they still won’t pay back quickly and usually take rather more volume.

        Which does limit where you can put them – the real thing with a Tesla Powerwall is how compact they are for the power stored – its a meaningful house battery that you can probably fit even in the smaller UK households, and does synergise well with an EV, especially if you are a pretty heavy user as fuel is damn expensive but cheapest rate electric really isn’t (assuming you can actually plug your EV in at home – lots of places that won’t be possible here).

      2. I have done exactly this, I have built a 16s2p 48v 28.4kW LifePo4 EVE cell battery pack for local storage, inc BMS landed here in the UK was £2600 ready for operation, its been in service for nearly as year now and combined with my 22kWp of PV I’m off grid essentially, my last months bill was -£68 “that’s minus” £68 from my feed in. We are a heavy user of Electricity, around 30kWh per day not including EV charging! and we have a base load of around 900watts 24/7 just keeping everything in the house running, My monthly savings (£140) combined with my feed in tariff should see me break even in three years.

  6. Maybe in AMERICA (shouting in caps) but here across the atlantic we are moving away from cars. Hell.. nobody even has a garage in the city where I live. I have not owned nor needed a car in the last decade.

    1. As a Canadian, who lives on the north American continent with those “Americans”, and has occasion to travel to places where population density may be as low as single digits per 100 square kilometers, must be nice living in your utopia.

      1. As a Canadian, if someone is successfully living in a utopia, why not emulate it?

        Do you avoid using a better design just because someone else invented it?

        1. Because the European ideal is a dystopia. It only looks good by the numbers, but behind the facade it’s falling apart. The countryside is emptying out as people are packing into urban centers, where they cannot find proper jobs, nor can they leave to find work elsewhere because they gave up personal mobility in favor of government handouts.

          At one point I too had that dilemma: fall on unemployment and minimum wage temp jobs offered by the unemployment office. Fortunately I had a junk of a car, which worked well enough to drive 40 km each morning to a factory outside of the city, which earned me enough money and self-esteem to pick myself up and go back to school.

          1. Sorry to burst your bubble, but if the countryside empying and the urban centers becoming more crowded is your only measure of “dystopia” then North America is just as bad as Europe, if not worse. As of 2017, 82.06% of Americans and 81.35% of Canadians lived in urban centers. Compare that to 77.26% of Germans, 80.18% of the French, and 83.14% of the UK (https://ourworldindata.org/urbanization).

            The big difference, though, is the distance between urban centers – for the most part they’re much closer together in Europe than in North America, which makes mobility simpler. In much of Europe there is simply no need to drive 40 miles to a factory outside of town to work – the factories are quite simply closer. And don’t get me started on public transit.

          2. I didn’t claim it wasn’t. Just pointing out that there’s nothing special in the EU model of how things are done – it’s suffering of the same “service-itis” where people are making a living simply by inserting themselves between the value chain and inflating prices.

          3. > distance between urban centers

            Not really different. European towns are just structured differently without sprawling sub-urbia, because they were originally laid out in a horse-and-buggy era, then rebuilt after WW2 with the limitations of fuel shortages, so they never changed. That’s why working class people live in cramped little towns three and four houses piled up near the town center even when there’s room to expand all around.

            That’s why in many European towns and cities, you can “get by” without a car – as long as you have a job within walking or bus ride distance as well. However, this has the consequence that all the business is concentrated in a small areas next to the public transport hubs, which means the rents are astronomical – which further drives all the real jobs out because you can’t afford to keep a factory where your supply of labor is. Basic low-value stuff and entry level jobs are made too expensive, so manufacturing has all been outsourced to China and the other basic services to underpaid immigrants and migrant workers who live in container barracks wherever needed.

            There is no need to drive 40 miles, because if you are working, you’re doing some sort of high-level services, finances, law, office work etc. living near work and getting paid handsomely. If not, you’re most likely subsisting on welfare and can’t afford a car anyways, much less to drive it with the insane fuel taxes, and you’re trapped in place with 50,000 others just like you.

          4. I mean, I was paying 1/6th of my salary just to go to work, for the fuel, which is 60-80% tax depending on where in the EU you are. It’s almost like they don’t want you to go anywhere, to fix the systemic labor mobility problems, so the socialists would have loyal subjects to farm for votes.

            My other option? Temp job in telemarketing on provision pay, or refuse and lose unemployment benefits, go live in a tent.

        2. If the idea is applicable to me I would be glad to adopt it, but if not then no. There is a reason Inuit don’t live in grass huts even they’er easier to build than igloos.

      2. As a Canadian who has probably spent more years dealing with it than you (simply because of age), neither not having a car nor not ever holding a driver’s license for my entire life has not done much to impede me from getting to and from the places I wish or need to go.

      1. This. Very much this.

        I very much like living where the birds chirping is what wakes me up in the morning. Not urban noise pollution.

        And for my entire adult life, I have always made a point to only switch jobs once I found one that was outside the big cities, so no sitting in traffic or public transportation for me. My longest commute has always been less than 30 minutes, including a stop at a coffee shot in the morning and spending a few minute chatting with someone in there. And I don’t live in the country, mind you. Just 20 minute away from Boston (during off hours).

        1. I suspect, post pandemic, with the rise of more or less permanent remote work, we will see a continued exodus from cities (encourages transmission of virII) toward laid back exurban living. We live far from dense population centers, maybe 8-9 miles from the nearest (small) mall/shopping area, and don’t regret it.

    2. Well everything is in walking distance over there. And not a lot of Americans like to live like that. In rural places in the U.S. it can be a 15-45 minute drive to the nearest store. Even outside of Los Angeles where I live it’s a mile to the nearest store. You either drive or walk.

      1. Or ride a bike, use an electric scooter, an e-bike or a motorcycle. In the right places you can use a horse with or without a buggy. It’s not black vs. white, drive a car vs. walk.

    3. Speak for yourself. Sounds pretty delusional to try to put all of “not america” into the same basket as your weirdo city.
      But hey, you are free to live there, if that suites you. Just let me live where i want, and where i want to live i need a car.

    4. Funny how some people took my comment as judgemental. I never said this was better than that or vice-versa, I only said that cars as grid backup are not that much of possibility over here. Period.

    5. If you want to live in the city that’s great.

      If you want to live outside of the city and make a point to not work in the city as to avoid traffic of any kind (including public transportation) so you can have a nice garden to grow enough tasty stuff to last you through next season’s harvest, it does not work too well.

      Living in such places does require you onw some sort of vehicle, even if the grocery store is less than half a mile away like in my situation. There are plenty of other places you need to go on a regular basis.

      But I’ll give you this: America, where I live, has the big problem where the entire system was based on live in the suburbs and drive to work in the city. So the majority of the jobs are in the city. There is public transportation to go to the city for sure. However, if I want to go to the next town over to the east from me, I have to take a 2 hour bus trip (off rush hours), because the public transportation only takes me to the city. So I have to take the bus to the nearest large city (Boston, Cambridge, Somerville, as an example), switch then ride back to my neighboring city. I could bike to that neighboring city in 30 minutes. But someone that can’t use a bike, say for health reasons or because they need to carry something too heave for a bicycle on the way back, they need to drive.

      1. I’ll put it a bit simpler because it seems you extended the butter onto way too much bread here: Carless cities, regardless of the continent = no grid backup with cars. That’s all I said.

    1. In a previous year, a person drove his EV entry to the Concours d”Lemons with a generator on a trailer.
      As long as he drove under 45 mph, the batteries remained topped off.

  7. I have been thinking the same thing. It would be cool if utilities had to buy back up to your annual consumption at retail, ie your meter can spin backwards IF you are capable of maintaining your solar output for say one hour without any sunlight. I do generally not feel bad for utilities but in some cities you see solar panels everywhere and one cloud drifts past the sun and a power plant that was providing 2% of the load suddenly needs to produce 90%, and this happens multiple times every day, this is obviously not good. If the majority of the solar could “cover itself” for an hour, this would allow the utilities to relax. They would still have the day vs night difference to contend with, but that is regular and can be planned for.

    1. “one cloud drifts past the sun and a power plant that was providing 2% of the load suddenly needs to produce 90%, and this happens multiple times every day, this is obviously not good.”

      Before getting to the part where you decide if it is good, you should check the math, see if it is true.

    2. The utilities, (So Cal Edison here) hate the co-gen alternative sources. I built and maintained 4 steam turbines, 3 gas turbines for L.A. County. (Other groups had even more) The feds made the utility pay above normal rates to us, in an effort to repay the start up costs. Simply a ponzi scheme.. Our “District” utilized taxpayer funding from sewers, and gate fees from the landfills. (Many) So in theory, we were self supporting.. Yet the feds insisted on the higher rates. We had a 20 year contract, and when that expired, most of the fuel source (Methane) had diminished, and facilities ramped back in power production. The sewer plant called the turbines “Total Energy” as it was configured to run the entire facility, (LARGE) and then export the extra to Edison. Fun times..
      And the interconnect was “Auto Sync” so load fluctuations were never an issue. One thing I learned, when you connect, you can not push the grid. If you try to push the grid, your machine will overheat and shut down.

  8. Last time I saw this scenario of feeding back into the grid it was to do with grid frequency stabilisation rather than a full power backup to the grid – i.e. extremely small short term spikes, or very short term backup until additional generation is brought online. So this would operate at as a small percentage of the EV’s battery rather than a deep discharge overnight.

    Even if the car doesn’t feed back into the grid, it is still useful to have them there to soak up the excess power generated.

      1. There won’t be enough electric cars on the grid to matter for decades, so the question of balancing the grid with their batteries also has to project into the future.

        And today’s solar power is not the “good stuff”, because it already forces utilities to push off base load power in favor of fast turbines to keep up with the ramp rates. It pushes more efficient combined generation plants off the grid, which ironically increases CO2 outputs.

        It gets sold simply because the prices are fixed with subsidies and don’t reflect the very low value of such generation. Utilities value solar power at around 2 cents a kWh actual wholesale price, while the individual owners get compensated 15-25 cents worth through net metering etc. and the difference is paid by all the other rate paying customers.

  9. home/car symbiotic energy storage is a no brainer. I hope to have multiple power sources and storage at my home and in my car and they can supplement each other.

  10. Could someone breakdown the ROI math and assumptions?

    During peak hours, would my car need to be sitting at home or is the idea that someone will install enough chargers that I could park my car at one all day long while I’m a short walk away at work? Is the assumption that remote charging stations will pay the same electricity rate they’re paid.

    Wouldn’t this be a 10x increase in wear/tear for a >$15k battery? Assuming most commuters charge/discharge ~30miles of capacity each day and this would be using all ~300miles worth of capacity every day.

    1. Start with your first assumption, peak power consumption happens during the day….
      Behind the meter solar is shifting peak grid power consumption to late afternoon, right around the time most people get their car home.

      That does mean that chargers(/dischargers?) for EVs installed at residential locations will be important, but they should be anyhow since off peak (best time to charge those cars up) is still happening over night.

      Ideal state for consumers would be a time of use pricing, where they charge up their EV on either cheap solar during the day, or cheap grid power at night, and provide that power back to the grid around sun rise and sun set when grid demand is the highest…

      Though you nailed the wear and tear on the batteries, which is why in my opinion V2G is DOA, V2H is still appealing using the car battery as a backup power source (wish I could make it work with my solar/leaf)

    2. If we assume there are thousands or even millions of EV’s connected that can sell then battery capacity that would ever be used on any one of them to level the grid becomes pretty much zero. As it stands right now for grid levelling with the current take-up of EV’s would still only dump a few percent before the backbone generators can ramp up.

      Trading energy on a larger scale for ‘profit’ from your EV battery can work out, its not the best battery tech, or energy storage tech in general for it, but you already paid for it, and depending on how its used it won’t be as bad on wear as driving that amount of energy use. For one thing the charge discharge rate should be lower so any temperature degradation will be lower, or even zero, where on many EV’s this isn’t quite the case while driving, the current required to handle regen braking and acceleration of such great masses is actually more than the packs can really shed and stay cool, but because its generally for very short times it shouldn’t matter that much – though look at the original leaf for instance as an example that really buggered that bit up.. There is also the state of charge in the battery – many EV’s will call ‘full’ rather a high voltage that isn’t actually good for the battery compared to being kept a little lower in charge, so energy trading might actually keep your battery in a better state there…

      Rather impossible to actually break down ROI without knowing many more details though, like the variation between price per unit in/out at on and off peak times in your location and how much electric you actually use yourself – just buying off-peak for some or all of your peak needs might very quickly pay for itself if the variation in peak to off peak price is high enough all while drawing bugger all range – a few miles of EV range runs a house for hours, even if your a pretty heavy electric user…

      The amount of energy traded is something that is usually controlled for you by the smarts in your car charger, I believe most of them have a degree of configuration available, and defaults to not using very much capacity – keep above x% charge – after all its still a car and you might want to go somewhere. So perhaps assume no more than 10-20% of the EV’s battery capacity each day is traded – which also helps account for the times its not plugged in idle as you are at the beach/forest/inlaws etc. SO taking a 155 kWh pack that’s something like 15kWh a day you are now getting off peak rates rather than peak rates for, over a year that is around 5500kWh. But what that means for you depends on the prices round your way, whatever deal you have with your energy supplier for selling back to the grid. Still taking the difference in price between that power at peak and off peak and removing it from your bill for a year gets you a ballpark answer. In the real world I’d expect to then double whatever ROI time that gives, just for safety margin – you can’t control much the prices etc (though with all the green incentives that will be coming in I’d expect the ROI to get better we can’t prove it one way or the other)…

      So if you really want to trade electricity having your ‘powerwall’ is the way to go, can use better energy storage tech for the application – energy densitity isn’t the most important thing for a fixed install, and doesn’t have all the extra gubbins to make it car so is actually pretty cheap (comparatively – still bound to give you sticker shock)…

      Here in the UK sale back to the grid as an individual just getting into solar/electric trading at least barely pays anything, the return on investment for me here is mainly in the reduction of my bills far more than selling back to the grid. Though recently there have been times when EV owners have been paid to charge their cars as the grid needed more load to stay balanced…

      1. >thousands or even millions of EV’s connected

        A million times 1 kWh is 1 GWh which distributed across the US grid would represent about 7 seconds of power. Even if you have millions and millions of EVs connected, they would have to provide some significant capacity each to matter at all.

        10 kWh out of 100 million cars is 7200 seconds or 2 hours of power, which is on the scale of what is necessary for time-of-use shifting between noon and evening that would be happening every day. This is approaching half of all the cars in the US, and adding 30 miles worth every day.

        >assume no more than 10-20% of the EV’s battery capacity

        That’s in the same ballpark. For the usual case, you’d be doubling the rate of miles on the battery. While you’re unlikely to exhaust the number of charge cycles the battery is capable of, you are still reducing the calendar life of the battery by stressing it more.

        If you assume the battery costs 1/3rd of the price of a car as they generally do, and you’re paying $45k for the car, and your battery only lasts 12 years anyways, a loss of one year in the calendar life means $1.25k in money. Using your 5,500 kWh as the yardstick, the cost in the life of your battery becomes 22.7 cents a kWh. Add the production cost of the electricity itself, plus transmission costs, and you’re at 30-40 cents a kWh for the stored energy, which is more expensive than the peak power rates WITHOUT the batteries.

        1. > Even if you have millions and millions of EVs connected, they would have to provide some significant capacity each to matter at all.

          Not really Dude, its just not how grid connected batteries (or anything connected to the grid) is used – its not all at once, its not replacing every other power generation device, its putting in a share, nothing more. And batteries are almost always used as grid levelling devices, which means they are fiddling the relatively small gap between supply and demand while the big generators ramp up, a vastly smaller draw than the whole grid, and still for a relatively short time… They are not primary generators… And I’d not call 10kWh in your final example particularly significant against the 150kWh each battery contains, or the usual amount of energy most folks would consume on their daily commute, weekly shopping trips etc – especially if what I hear from the US folks about the round trips you have to take that make EV so unsuitable is actually remotely true and you really do have hour drives to the nearest shop etc…

          Don’t know that your calculation method actually works out in the real world that way, as really nobody knows yet exactly how wearing grid trading is compared to driving, or just how long these batteries will last – its all estimation for now, and with enough error margins that the guesses areound change of lifespan you could end up having longer lived batteries by grid trading – as it keeps the state of charge in general at a better state for long term than keeping your EV topped up all the time, or it could knock noticeable time of the batteries life. Actual real world data on these battery chemistries and how they age with different patterns of use applied to them just doesn’t exist yet.

          But to me at least its very reasonable that drawing in the 100’s of watts range (which is all its likely to be) on the battery for grid use is massively massively better for it than needing to draw the orders of magnitude more to get the steel box full of people, batteries, etc moving – even at the same total energy transfered. Current and its heat generation are damaging to the batteries too, not to mention staying at max state of charge isn’t good either – I do expect it to wear the battery out somewhat faster, but much less than you are expecting it would seem. You also have to account for depreciation just because its got old, to be at all fair – the value of a year of EV motoring isn’t exactly 1/xth the price of the new vehicle x years ago…

          Nor do we really know how as the ‘green’ economy kicks in things like this will be valued – if your supplier ends up with major fines/ different tax brackets for exceeding its yearly CO2 allotment the price they are going to be willing to cough up to claw back power when they need it might well rise rather hugely etc.. And all those sort of changes are likely to roll out inside the lifespan of most EV’s currently on the road.

          I don’t really think you are necessarily wrong though, EV’s connected back to the grid makes a great deal sense – for the civic duty/ for your own convenience reasons – you would far rather not have brown outs and the economic cost and inconvenience of them, plus a stable more efficient grid (which this would help create) should lower energy prices – so you are getting a return there even if its not directly obvious or easily quantifyable. Does mean they are actually going to have a good ROI as an energy trading system, who knows. I suspect they will have some, maybe even pretty good ROI (at least compared to the predicted terrible interest rates on money). However if ROI is the goal and you don’t need the EV anyway just buy/build a ‘powerwall’ type object, its cheaper, should use better technologies for this use case, all round under that scenario its a better option.

  11. Vehicle To Grid (V2G) and Vehicle to Home (V2H) have been around for a long time (decades) in experimental settings. Only a couple of companies have had them commercially available in the last few years, and *very* few have them integrated with vehicle, solar, and grid. There are lots of issues to work through, but some of the biggest are zoning and legal restrictions which are lagging the tech by many years. True, a lot of people are still suffering from range anxiety, but once you know what your expected usage is you can program that into the charging system to make sure that it has enough for you to get to work and back, etc.

    Also, there are some stories where EV’s were hacked around to actually run emergency power for people during the historic ice storms. In fact, I think that one of the new Ford F-150 EV owners made national news with keeping his place going with his new truck. Also, a lot of people made a LOT of money generating electricity for their Texas neighbors (this also made national news).

      1. Not really, some of it certainly would – but as humans create the peak of use during their daylight hours most energy generated doesn’t have to very far, probably only a few hundred Km between the cities under storm clouds and those in the brilliant sun – weather patterns don’t tend to be all that huge…

        Couple with some local storage and the amount of power excess where the sun is shining that needs to travel from where it isn’t becomes pretty low – also remember wind turbines don’t really care day or night, hydropower is power on tap as long as its been raining sufficiently etc, a large distributed grid isn’t just about solar.

        Not convinced its an environmental winner still when talking globally – the running of all the cables, the surge protections etc would be quite significant when crossing the more vast empty areas of the globe.. Makes alot of sense to tie all the power generation in N and S America together, Large parts of Europe and Asia (perhaps even Africa) as well – the distances been sources and loads won’t ever be all that vast with the chains of populated areas the power will be run through and consumed at…

        1. Yes it really would. Or you could use superconducting cables, in which case most of the power would go to turning the pumps to make the liquid nitrogen that keeps boiling off.

          The east coast of US would have to get power all the way from Europe across the Atlantic, which is 5000-6000 km away, for the scheme to work. Simply the transmission distance would eat up most of the power.

          Traditional AC grids also kinda stop working entirely after 2000-3000 miles because they approach a significant fraction of the wavelength of the electricity, and turn into SLF radio transmitters instead.

          1. It is not because they “turn into SLF radio transmitters”, it’s because as they approach 1/4 wavelength they become uncontrollable: because of the phase shift in transmission the impedance as seen by the generator is transformed by the (literal) transmission line, and the delivered voltage and current is very different from that seen at the other end of the line: a heavy load at the destination will appear as a high impedance at the generator, for example, and the generator will trip out for the overvoltage. Conversely, a sudden drop of load will spike the load-end voltage, but look like a short to the generator.

            That’s why long-haul lines are HVDC, not AC.

          2. That sort of travel for the energy just wouldn’t happen, or at least not very much – you still have local wind, hydro etc and the ‘local’ demand in the middle of the night is bugger all so the need to take power over such vast distances really should be approaching nill. And no power is no transmission loss.

            The whole global connected grid idea really just lets the time zone a few ahead/behind of yours help cover the power spikes that human bio-rhythms, tides, weather patterns, etc create, you are not actually sending power round the world, as there should be no need. You are sending power on cables that perhaps span the world (though as I said to me that full coverage probably doesn’t make sense) but only a few hundred maybe thousand miles from the place in late mornings or mid afternoon low power draw to the the neighbours cooking their dinner, or from the place under a cloud bank to the one in bright sunshine still. And over those distances the extra transmission losses are almost irrelevant compared to the cost and energy conversion losses of trying to capture all your excess locally all the time so you don’t need any outside help – an ‘off-grid’ nation if you will – and off-grid as an idea really doesn’t work well at nation scales…

      2. This week, they have just completed a high voltage DC interconnector between north east England and Norway. Cable losses are just 4%. The cable is 750km/470 miles long.

        Excess windpower or solar produced in the UK can be used to pump water back into hydro reservoirs in Norway.

    1. That is not entirely true, you’d see your civilisation die the moment the next volcanic winter hit, and a big solar storm is just going to love all that massive wiring. Solar PV arrays on an industrial scale are like a vase fractal tree of conductors, the run lengths are already vast, over 50 km for the largest current installations, and they would generate kilovolts of induced current as the Earth’s magnetic field lines snap back after a storm. Fatal over voltage for PVs is 60 volts or less, so your entire set-up gets damaged right down to the silicon junction level and if everyone is using them who gets the spares? You would be without power for decades during the repair effort that followed, assuming civilisation survives at all. BF was brilliant but also a little naive.

      1. I didn’t say we shouldn’t have backups. The most sensible of which is probably gas turbine with a battery for use during spin up. The important thing here is that generation keeps getting cheaper, Batteries, not so much. It’s just a case of when will a global grid make more sense not if. That being said, Solar storms become a more destructive force. On the long ocean crossing distance lines, we will probably need a spare, unconnected line. So as to switch to circuit B in a matter of days, rather than potentially have to repair or worse relay, line A.

        Even on national grids. If PV systems on the east coast are facing 15 degrees east, while those on the west coast faces 15 degrees west, the national solar day will be streahed by 2 hours. The loss in PV panel performance at some point is worth it.

        1. The only viable long term energy solution that is robust and scales to all of humanity’s needs is nuclear power, preferably fusion, and if we can’t get that sorted out ASAP we really are just living on borrowed time.

    2. And Nikola Tesla thought he could eliminate the wires, too. Neither of these was a good plan. I think most people would be on board with V2H, which would give them control over how much charge they kept in their car. If peak power was handled at the point of consumption, we wouldn’t have wire and transformer losses going in both directions. With V2G, there is loss when the power is used to charge the vehicle battery, then a similar amount of loss when that power goes back into the grid. If the grid has sufficient generation and transmission to handle the daily mean load (and it must, in order for energy storage to be a viable option), consumer-owned storage to handle their own peak loads would probably be the most efficient arrangement. This could include the family vehicle(s), but there probably also needs to be some stationary storage, which is cheaper and more efficient anyway. In most places, the peak loads are in the morning and evening; at oh-dark-thirty there isn’t a lot of demand, and batteries live longer if they’re charged slowly anyway, all night long. The notion that we should charge our cars while we are at work is fantasy – the places supplying charging stations in commercial areas charge many times the going rate for the power, so the only people using these are the ones who don’t have big enough batteries in their cars for the commuting round trip. And as others have said, the time most of us are at work is NOT the lowest part of the daily power cycle.

      1. As I recall, a ham operator installed a large antenna array and discovered voltage reading on it. I’m not sure how he could have used that, but it also seemed to interfere with his ham radio.
        I’m sure that rubbing a balloon on my head will not power much either.

        1. That’s right. Electric field gradients can get you some extreme voltage, but unless you can collect it over a wide area (I’m looking at YOU, cumulonimbus), not much current.

  12. Well, if people start talking actual expences to the consumer, in repairs, maintenance along with up front costs. Along the way start talking about how long these batteries take to charge, how many cycles can they charge before performance degrades, all the things that make people not want electric stuff, you know the inconviences of it all. Lost power the other night, first thing that happens is the fridge doesn’t get opened unless needed, flashlights get conserved in case the outage goes on for some time, etc. Kind of like a phone plan with limited data, always watching what data you consume so as not to go over. Plugging your vehicle into a house to power it seems along the same way of thinking, don’t use this or that, do this for only a few minutes, and so on. Not a good idea IMO. Emergency? Sure, way of life, uh no. Just keep on cramming electric stuff down throats, it is the onoy way it will happen as technology is too bust sending craps to Mars tonbe concerned with issues here.

  13. Natural gas used in large scale electricity production is not a pollutant, the CO2 produced does not contribute to climate change, nor is clean coal technology. To suggest otherwise is a flat out deception in the light of the Keeling Curve data from 2020 when global economic activity dropped by about 20% yet there was no proportional change in the rate of CO2 increase as recorded in the Keeling Curve data. This suggests that CO2 levels are driven by natural phenomena, probably volcanic and ocean chemistry. Either way it is not a problem because there is no proof that CO2 in the atmosphere contributes to the trapping of heat. Yep, go and find actual evidence that in a 100 km high atmosphereic column of mixxed gasses and H2O that you will find it being a major player, it does not exist. OK so now that we have dealt with all of the blatant lies let’s look at some of the naive and foolish assumptions around battery storage.

    Even the largest battery systems in the world only hold minutes of power and supply a small number of homes, do the maths yourself. What they do offer is very short term load leveling, which is a very different thing and it is dangerous to confuse the two.  As for using cars well that seems like a good idea until you factor in the cycling cost of using batteries like that because you would have to hand over control to the grid operator and they would not consult you as to how and when they tapped into your car’s storage. In fact you can bet that they will do it to play the energy market and drive prices down, great for consumers if they pass that on, bad for your car’s battery life.

    Also ask yourself how long will your batteries last during the next volcanic winter? You will need months or years of storage, not minutes or hours! Cover that risk or see your civilisation collapse.

    1. Source? It amazes me that people will make claims that oppose the consensus opinion, then tell you to look it up. No, YOU look it up, and show me where you found it. The burden of proof is on you.

      1. There is no burden on me, because I don’t actually care what you think. If all of the above is news to you then forget it or look into it yourself as you see fit. But it would be nice if you could prove me wrong, because I’ve never met a magician before, LOL.

        1. That’s usually the response I get when I point this out. You want to spout your nonsense, and convince people of it, but as soon as someone calls you on it, it turns into “I really don’t care about convincing you.” Well done, because you haven’t.

          1. Your attempts at playing gatekeeper are futile. It doesn’t matter what you think, there are no internets points on offer for you, and the issues I raised are still there for more intellectually energetic and inquisitive individuals to explore. If you were more mature and had specific questions I would reciprocate. Do you understand now at what level I operate?

          2. Your belligerent conduct just belittles yourself and demonstrates why people should not trust your judgment or opinions. Get back to me when you have reviewed the publicly available data pertaining to the information I have provided and are able to formulate a rational and on topic question, then I will happily explain to you those aspects of the topic that you do not understand.

          3. You have provided zero information, which was my initial objection. Just as you don’t care what I think, I also do not value the outlandish opinions you are either unable or too lazy to defend. I will not spend a minute on your work.

          4. There are two obvious deceptions in your comment, one that I provided zero information, and two that you will not spend any time on my comment, I clearly did and you clearly have expended effort in abusing me about it because you feel disturbed by what I have pointed out. What a shame you could not even be adult enough to frame a specific question so that we could better understand the exact nature of the dissonance that you are suffering.

    2. 𐂀 𐂅 , I’m pleased you can speak for the world on this issue.
      Here in the states, CNG power plants are regulated at the tailpipe, just like automobiles.
      (Yes, I ran some)
      It’s China and other third world power production that is killing things.
      Until everyone gets on the program, not much will improve.

      1. That has nothing to do with what I pointed out, and that is that there is not actually any evidence of a big problem and references to “consensus’ is not data or evidence, it is just a politically tainted opinion from a specific clique of people.

  14. Surely the solution to grid storage is batteries optimised for cycle life, maintainability and total energy capacity, not EV batteries which are optimised for low weight, low volume and high power density? Your electric pickup truck’s battery can supply peak power draw of hundreds of kilowatts which your house doesn’t need, and if your house battery is the size of a washing machine no-one cares. You could already power your house through blackouts with 800CCA car batteries, but no-one does because deep cycle batteries are better for that purpose.

  15. First I’ve heard of the F150 hybrids having a 7.2KW generator capacity. Now that’s where you can do some real work. At one of my former employers, where we had generator capacity for our entire teleport, we would run the generators on high demand days and the cost benefit to us was insane.

    If the F150 Hybrid owners had a connection to the grid to keep the batteries topped off that could invert to a 7.2KW generator for grid infusion when needed…with appropriate fiscal remediation to the vehicle owner to cover costs…they’d have a great resource to call upon.

    This method wouldn’t destroy battery cycles and if we ever switch to another portable power source that makes sense (because until you get the inefficiencies out of electrical distribution I’ll never be convinced that electric cars are anything other than adding to the carbon dioxide problem) it could be carbon free.

    One thing that’s coming out of this drive to be green is ideas. Sorting through them all to find the really good ones is all we need to do.

      1. Nat gas ICE power lasts quite a while, much longer than gasoline or diesel power plants. No dilution of the oil with un-burned fuels dripping down into the oil. The down side of nat gas is the lower energy it supplies. The Honda CNG ICE power has forged internal parts, combined with higher compression pistons, just to equal the power of the gasoline units. Then we have the availability of CNG if systems collapse. Not sure it will keep flowing. Of course you could buy a huge tank for your back yard, but that too has a finite life.

  16. This big debate between fossil fuels and electric cars. Yes fossil fuels are bad, however today’s vehicles emissions are so low, still we need to divert away from current dependency and not happening quick, soon, as will take time if done right, economically. Economics, is the key, since rush too quick over regulations and start costing people, then will not get adapted and alternatives can end up being more detrimental, people keeping older cars running etc…
    Also current batter tech is not there yet, still limited life span, and the mining of the lithium, processing and disposal of bad batteries can be as much if not more environmentally disastrous than the burning of fossil fuels. The manufacturing over head itself expends so much energy. We are going to need to come up with some other energy storage, more environmentally friendly, long lifespan, etc before we can really go really far in this area.
    As for other non fossil energy, solar, has limitation on the solar cells life time, energy output diminishes over time and eventually has to be replaced completely, usually 10 year average lifespan. Basically for most homeowner, would not see a significant payback before having to endure that cost again, maybe not full cost of the entire infrastructure but significant. and then the batteries again in that system. Most people I see do well with solar, do the hydronic heating stuff that really helps.
    Wind Power, well, again, not totally green, manufacturing energy consumption, and the parts themselves use a lot of oil to produce, grease to keep things lubed, etc…
    Now, I am all for going to wind power where can and solar where can for now, if the energy companies do it themselves but without any mandates nor subsidies. and by all means anyone personally wanting to go for it great, I may myself do more. is just have to inch our way into that area the tech with all of it needs to improve and there is still a great lack of knowledge, understanding what it takes behind the scenes to develop and produce this tech vs fossil fuels is not cut and dry as seems. We need to get there but people need to understand it all better and not rush it too quick in mass.
    My first step was to get rid of as many battery operated clocks, other devices in my house, I was going through several of those warehouse battery packs like crazy! so saving many of those from the landfill now :-)
    Me, think will still depend on PC for power, supplement with nat/LP gas backup gen for times when needed, fits with what can afford right now best.
    Long term we may get there, but still have a way to go before we get the energy storage part for solar, electric cars, etc where needs to be. and still, with electric vehicles, have to charge from the PC grid, where is that electric coming from? which is a good Segway to…
    Nuclear, yeah controversial it is. problem, now, short term, have it, and alternative for most power consumption is coil and oil, just the facts.
    Problem is, current nuclear tech, facilities past their lifetimes, many upgrades and older tech that is the less safest than current tech in nuclear power generation. Today more modern technology can almost eliminate the risk of meltdowns, there is one developed that will not go into meltdown at all. Point is, need to at least replace current nuclear power generation before have to shutdown and go back to more fossil fuel consumption, those exiting facilities need replacing but so much fear mongering about it no one want to build new ones not even to replace exiting ones, just needs to be done to get us through the next decade or two at least. We are already in an energy crunch,m we almost have no more spare electric generation capacity in the nation now, if were not for the solar, wind that has been implemented we would be having numerous blackouts by now. Anything major happens, and will, see what happened to Texas, they had many issues with the freezing, but did happen. cant build new Dams for hydro, no one want any new//more nuclear several have already went offline due to age and more fossil being burned but no new power generation for those either, and we cannot build enough wind/solar to augment what will need in the future if go to charging way many more vehicles, and the exponential energy consumption we are going through.

    1. You are several decades out of date on solar cells, 20 years expected lifetime would still be on the short end, modern ones are expecting above 90% of new performance in that sort of time scale. (Plus even the earliest silicon cells are usually working if they avoided physical damage, just with rather degraded performance, so early PV cells can still be well worth getting if you have the space to set them up and the shipping doesn’t cost you too much). The homeowner with solar can expect to get payouts for a very long time, they might choose to upgrade to newer, more efficient panels before the current ones are actually worn out, and fiscally at least they will have paid for themselves with lots of life left… Maybe even put the old ones in sub-optimal places while the prime slots go to the new ones…

      Biggest problem with Nuclear in a ‘green’ economy is the speed it can adapt to changing load – if you want to stop burning stuff especially natural gas (which for me is actually stupid, there is so much methane generated by essential bio-processes it should be used for something and rapid response to the load makes sense) you are going to need large battery banks, or big pumped hydro type stuff, something that can hold signifiant power and can dump it all rapidly at need. Or to always vastly overproduce electric by Nuclear and have varied loads – like water desalination, hydrogen splitting, something you can turn up and down to keep the grid happy.as supply and normal demand fluctuates…

      1. What about adapt demand to supply? For example, dedicated freezers and electric water heaters can run more when there’s a surplus so they can run less when demand is high, same applies to HVAC to some extent. Add in very cheap thermal storage and HVAC can then be optimized to use surplus energy.

        1. That is very much what I was describing at the end, HVAC, freezers and the like are only really good for minor duration grid levelling – they cease to actually perform their function if powered down to match supply drops for long, and usually not performing their function is rather bad news (it better be or you are just wasting energy for the sake of it). Can you create extra thermal mass in them and use that thermal store to extend the window they function without much/any power draw absolutely. Still not going to deal with the larger longer fluxuations in supply/demand, but it is still a perfectly good idea.

          A supply-demand adaptation like splitting water for hydrogen is something that doesn’t have massive inertia in the system to overcome if its shutdown for hours/days, same thing with water desalination and many other useful resource generators – you just have to be able to store and use enough of the end product to justify its creation.

  17. Everyone wants their car charged in the morning.
    Everyone wants to be paid for storage.
    No one wants their battery wearing out early.
    Unless it’s regulated, pricing could become crazy.
    Vehicle batteries are super high power density at a cost, power storage doesn’t have that crazy restriction.

    It’s a great in principal but its just not the right place.

  18. > if the sun temporarily goes behind a cloud, rather than the grid voltage crashing, smart chargers could detect the dip and instantaneously respond by letting battery power flow back into the grid.

    except there is no economic intensive to do so, if the car is charging at cheap rates, it won’t sell back a cheap rates. some additional regulation component must be included to qualify for the cheap charge price point like “guaranteed X watts can be deliver back to the grid on demand for X minutes”…. but that doesn’t work for folks that are charging their own cars from their own grid-tide solar setup.

    de-centralizing storage is going to create quite the mess.

    1. Not if the storage is coupled to the load. The root of the problem is that there are peak loads that are several times the daily mean, and all loads are already decentralized. If electricity is charged for according to instantaneous load as well as time of day, with large penalties for any usage beyond some margin above your average, high peak users would be encouraged to supply their own storage (or to mitigate their peak usage in some other way), and the grid would never even SEE the peaks.

      1. Correction: MOST loads are decentralized. It occurs to me that there are aluminum smelting plants situated near the hydroelectric dams on the Columbia River, for example.

  19. I have a lot of questions on driving an Electric Vehicle. Where is all this electricity going to come from to charge my car? NYS isn’t building any new power plants and instead we have eliminated at least two in our area over the past 20 years. Yet our electricity usage has got to be much greater than 20 years ago. Don’t we loose efficiency creating energy remotely, delivering it to my house, charging a battery, and then finally using the battery to power a 2 ton vehicle? Does this really cause less pollution? How will most people use Solar Cells to charge their cars when the car is sitting in a lot while they are at work? If I buy an EV how do I travel to other states to visit my Grandkids? They are all more than 300 miles away.

    The Governor of NYS is considering a bill requiring that we may only buy non-polluting vehicles at some point in the future. If he waits long enough I won’t be young enough to drive anymore. But I wlll still want to see my Grandkids. I’ll have to keep my cars running a little longer.

    1. All very valid points – though one big thing to note is centralised burning for power is much much easier to clean up, and can be vastly more efficient in energy extracted from the fuel than the ICE on a vehicle can ever be. Which should more than make up the transmission losses (and remember petrol has transmission losses too – all those tankers driving around).

      Also with any ‘renenwable’ ‘green’ energy source and charging EV’s you don’t have to worry about connecting to it directly, even if you park right next to the big ol’ powerstation and it is what supplies your power in practice all the solar type stuff out there is still providing power to something, that would other wise have drawn power from the same powerstations and meant the powerstation had to work harder – or even a mothballed/backup one get fired up..

      With the modern EV that can fast charge and the amount of chargers maps indicate are around in most of the developed world now visiting your Grandkids would just require planning a rest break, so get a nice cuppa tea, stretch your legs a bit and then get back on the road.

      That said I don’t think ICE will be going away anytime soon, if you are as old as you imply you don’t want to buy a new motor, you just want to run the current one till the end – lots of folks in the same boat. And then there are those who’s jobs are all about long distance transits, be that to inspect, inventory or deliver something, and battery EV’s will never make sense in that role.

      1. I probably would never be comfortable on relying on a charger to be available for over an hour in the middle of a road trip. That implies that one hour would be enough time to get enough charge to continue.

        We can’t even rely on Lowe’s and Home Depot to have an accurate inventory for their local store. How much faith does it take that a stranger is going to have an electrical plug available when I get there? What if we get delayed and can’t make our appointment. Sorry sir, your time slot is over and we don’t have another slot available until tomorrow.

    2. Hm. Maybe the cryptomining kids will start to do something productive, like buying power at off-peak rates, storing it in stationary storage as well as their cars, and selling it back at peak rates.

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