While I would argue that EV’s have many more benefits than just their lowered emissions, the need for clean energy is clearly driving the industry forward. But what if I told you that EV’s could do even more to help mitigate climate change. Vehicle-to-grid (V2G) technology could help enable more use of renewable energy. So why haven’t EV manufacturers hopped on board?
How does V2G work?
With V2G tech your power company would be able to use your EV’s battery as storage for the grid. Solar power obviously only works during the day, so large batteries are required if you don’t want to fire up coal plants at night. There are options on the market like Tesla’s Megapack and Gigapack, but those are pricey. Any additional cost is a barrier to power companies adopting EVs.
With V2G we can lower that barrier to entry. There are millions of massive batteries already just sitting there in the garage. If the power company was able to tap into this storage they’d be able to make full use of their solar capacity.
If this sounds weird to you, remember that Tesla’s Powerwall is essentially just a car battery strapped to the wall. Individual consumers are able to use this to run their house 100% on solar with a Powerwall. With V2G power companies could run the entire grid on solar power.
What’s the problem?
There aren’t very many reasons a consumer wouldn’t want V2G. Some might be worried about having a dead battery when you need your car, but this wouldn’t really be an issue. Most EVs have the ability to schedule their charging to they’ll be charged when you’re ready to leave. This helps slow battery degradation. Your power company could integrate with your car’s systems and ensure your car is fully charged when it’s needed. And it’s not like they need to drain the battery down to 0 anyway.
Another potential problem would be battery degradation. Batteries can only do a certain number of charge cycles before they need to be replaced. Using V2G could put undue strain on your battery and cause it to degrade faster. But the strain on the battery is low unless you’re fast charging, and I don’t see any need to fast charge for V2G. I think if power companies would just pay you to use your battery, just like they pay to use power from your solar panels, that would be ideal.
The only real problem with V2G is that it hasn’t been adopted. The only car on the road that currently supports V2G is the Nissan Leaf. It’s surprising that Tesla hasn’t added this tech to their cars given they clearly have the knowhow with the Powerwall. They already have an app for managing grid power, but adding V2G might entail some hidden costs. Volkswagen is also working with Nissan to enable V2G.
But currently, these V2G standards set up by Nissan haven’t been utilized by power companies. Some countries are working towards V2G, but without compatible cars on the road, there isn’t much enthusiasm. But if we wait for more V2G enable cars to come out we’ll be leaving a lot on the table. These power companies can’t just flip a switch to enable V2G overnight. So they need to work now so they’ll be able to take advantage of the tech when millions of EVs hit the road in the next few years.
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